As a hard-playing, hard-living rugby forward, Sean Smith was used to putting his body on the line. That soon changed when two severe motor-vehicle accidents left him with devastating physical injuries, unable to regain his past physical fitness or his zest for life. After witnessing firsthand the horror of the 2002 Bali bombing, Sean also found himself suffering from post-traumatic shock. Compulsively working long hours in a stressful job and battling to find time to be with his wife and two small daughters didn’t help either. A losing battle against obesity and an ongoing struggle with depression followed.
After being told by doctors he was a prime candidate for a heart attack at just 36, Sean decided enough was enough. He took up kayaking (a sport that could accommodate his injuries) and then decided to tackle one of the toughest paddling competitions in the world: the 111-kilometre Hawkesbury Canoe Classic night ultra-marathon.
What follows is an entertaining and inspiring account of Sean’s journey back to health and fitness. His many hours training on the waterways of Sydney, and a trip to Alaska paddling amongst icebergs and running away from bears, fuelled a new appreciation for the beauty of the outdoors and recaptured his enthusiasm for living.
Sean’s story is an uplifting experience for those looking for motivation to regain their fitness and enjoy life to the full.
‘Sean’s book is an extraordinary story of personal recovery and adventure. His story is inspirational without taking itself too seriously and luckily for me, Sean shows there’s still hope for old front-rowers after rugby!’ – Al Baxter, Waratah and Wallaby International rugby player
‘The Fat Paddler represents all the values that we respect and admire in an Aussie bloke. He gets out there and gives it a go.’ – Justin Jones and James Castrission, authors of "Crossing the Ditch", "Extreme South" and "Crossing the Ice"
'I loved this book. I found it an easy, captivating read and was completely drawn into the author's story. The challenges he faced and his attitude to overcome them was inspiring. It's a real adventure story!' - Lauren McCabe (GoodReads)
'An incredible journey, an inspiring recovery. Discovering passion after loss... an Aussie accent. This book has it all.' - Phil Wahlbrink (GoodReads)