A Naples man has made it his goal to inspire adaptive athletes everywhere.
Adaptive athlete Aaron Cutler won the Adaptive Standing world title at the 2018 World Wakeboard Championship in Mexico this month.
“I hope to spend the next few years continuing to set a new bar for what’s possible,” Cutler said.
When you watch Cutler launch himself into the air and flip over the water, it’s hard to believe this wakeboarding world champion is relatively new to the sport. He admits it did not come naturally.
“The first time I went wakeboarding, I hopped in the water to try, and I failed miserably,” Cutler said.
Cutler said struggling to wakeboard is what motivated him to master the sport.
“I knew what the potential was for the sport and what the need was for someone to come in and become really proficient in how to wakeboard with one hand,” Cutler said.
As a one-handed athlete, Cutler has spent his whole life learning to adapt.
“When I was in kindergarten, I saw all of my friends, they were learning to tie their shoes,” Cutler said. “I was able to invent a way for me to tie my own shoes. That was probably my first experience with having to overcome something without a particular road map.”
After 30 years of tackling obstacles and breaking barriers, Cutler moved to Florida last fall with a whole new goal.
“My goal in moving down to Florida to seriously devote time and energy to wakeboarding was to come in and set a bar for what’s possible for an adaptive wakeboarder and continue to improve that bar,” Cutler said.
Cutler is the first adaptive athlete to land a crow mobe at a WWA Wake Park event. He said he is most proud when he can inspire other adaptive athletes.
“My hope from here is to devote a large portion of my time to finding potential adaptive athletes and teaching them how to reach goals,” Cutler said. I hope to spend the next few years continuing to set a new bar for what’s possible.”