Aline Adisaka On The Road to Recovery | Paddle Healthy Presented by Sun Protection Zone
Brazilian Aline Adisaka was quickly ascending rank in the SUP racing circuit and on the Standup World Tour (SUWT) when it happened. After a slew of top-10 finishes in nearly every competition she entered last year, Adisaka—the 2013 Brazilian SUP surfing National Champion—ended the 2014 World Tour with a fifth-place overall finish. By the close of the season, she was a regular standout and the only other Brazilian to rival fellow World Tour SUP surfing phenom, Nicole Pacelli. Then, as she neared the climax of the 2014 race season, she faced an unexpected knee injury. Now, only a couple months shy of the one-year anniversary of her injury, Adisaka gives SUP the inside scoop on her fall and her long journey back to the top. —Shari Coble
SUP mag: Tell us what happened to your knee last year.
Adisaka: I got injured at the Ultimate SUP Showdown in Waikiki, Hawaii, in August 2014—a month before the Huntington Beach Pro Grand Slam. I remember falling down when racing and I felt hurt after that, but I kept competing.
After the competition, I couldn’t walk, so (fellow SUWT competitor) Karen Jacobson took me to the hospital. I planned to go to California afterward for the fourth stop of the Standup World Tour at Huntington Beach, but in Hawaii, the doctor suggested I should go home to start physical therapy and recover. He meant that the World Tour was finished for me.
I begged the doctor to tell me anything I had to do to compete. He said I could try to go to California and start the treatment there. I had four weeks until the [HB Pro] contest and I couldn’t surf the whole time—only recover. My doctor in California said I shouldn’t compete, but he knew I was going to anyway. I was out of the water for a whole month and hardly walking, so I knew I couldn’t expect much of myself.
But, you did compete in HB, even with your injury?
I did compete. I was doing well, and on my second round I hurt the injured knee to make to next round. After this hit I went straight to the clinic. (The doctor) took care of me for the whole day. Again they told me I couldn’t go in the water but I insisted and went to surf in my (Quarterfinal heat) the next day. I was winning until the last minutes when I lost priority. After that, I went back home, kept the treatments and recovery going for months…the 2014 Tour was officially finished for me.
What's been the most difficult part of the recovery process?
As an athlete, it’s hard to deal with the fact that you are injured and have to be careful with a lot of things, and to only focus on recovery and thinking positive. On the other hand, the lessons you learn every day having to deal with the obstacles are amazing. In the end, the injury becomes something very good for your life: you find yourself stronger and becoming more mature and positive. I can only be thankful for this injury; I know I had to go through this.
What advice can you give to fellow paddlers that are recovering from injury?
You have to understand that everything in life happens for a reason and only be thankful because, first, it could be worse, and also, if it's happened to you, it is only to make you a better—and stronger—person. I believe that the hardest moments of our lives are when you find yourself focused on what you want exactly; it's where you became more mature and learn so many valuable lessons. So my advice is: See the GOOD and think POSITIVE ABOUT ALL things, at ALL TIMES.