Profile in Accessibility
By Sally Swanson
There aren’t enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe Skye Parker. His ebullient spirit is captivating and contagious. A true creative. A brilliant mind. A genius. Ask anyone.
Most recently, Skye has been a member of my staff. His future holds basically whatever he envisions. Simply a remarkable young man.
And so, without further delay, let me introduce you to Skye Parker…in his own words:
A few years ago I asked myself – what’s the coolest thing I can do now? Is there any pursuit that will be worth getting up for in the morning? Does a fun life in a wheelchair exist for me? Before my accident I was a construction worker and a kite surfer. Kite surfing was the best thing on the planet to me, it’s all I ever wanted to do. Now, at 21, I was confined to a wheelchair, paralyzed from the chest down. Not exactly the future I was hoping for.
So what’s next for a paralyzed kite surfer? Kite buggying. It just so happens that the muscles I was left with after my accident are the muscles required to fly a kite. But it’s not as simple as just buying a kite buggy and heading to the beach. This would need to be a custom vehicle designed with several features that make the whole thing functional for someone paralyzed. I started designing the kite buggy on the computer until I had something I was happy with. I made renderings and animations and launched a crowd funding campaign to fund its completion. Thanks to the donations of about 300 people, the kite buggy now exists.
The video shows us testing the Spider Crab [kite buggy] in Nevada. The wind and weather were crazy! We came back with new things to fix and next will be flying closer to home in the San Francisco Bay Area. To see the latest on the project please visit http://thespidercrabblog.blogspot.com/