SCARBOROUGH windsurfer Justyna Sniady (29) had a broken toe competing in 130km/h winds before she came sixth in the world during the Windsurfing Association (PWA) World Cup Wave event in the Canary Islands recently.
“It was painful, but to be fair I’ve had so many other injuries, including some of my nerves were damaged in an accident I had on the water three years ago,” Sniady, who fought the toe injury with painkillers and medical tape, said.
In 2012 she shattered five bones in her foot and sprained ligaments in training, leading doctors to say she would never fully recover or walk.
After five months of rehabilitation, Sniady returned to competition at the BWA Wave Championships in Scotland in 2012.
She moved to Perth five years ago for its wind and waves, after starting her windsurfing aged 12 in her native Poland.
“I started in the Baltic Sea, where we do have some waves, but it’s not like here where we get a swell and wind and I can go after work,” Sniady said.
The World Cup’s initial rounds had winds that forced Sniady into rocks and smashed her mast before she was placed sixth in world rankings.
She is now the reigning British Wavesailing Association Tour Champion but said her standout moment from 2014 was first place at the first Polish National Championships.
Windsurfing on waves uses up to 4000 calories an hour and competitions, run on similar lines to surfing tournaments, involve two to four windsurfers in 10-12 minute heats being scored points by judges on shore.
Being ranked sixth in the world now means more interest from sponsors, pressure on work commitments and a strict training regime that includes daily gym sessions.
Sniady will compete in a World Cup round in Germany this month.
“We go to where the sponsors are, where the money is and where we get 20,000 spectators because they’ve been doing it there for 20 years, but it means we are in 5-degree water with onshore winds,” she said.