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Visually impaired and parasurfing champion, Lou Méchiche dreams of freedom on the wave

Lou Méchiche has a busy schedule. Lately she has been doing the You-F Festival in the Landes, festival combining concerts and debates. She went testify at the college of Mios, during disabled citizens’ days. Saturday December 9, she will participate at home, in Taillan-Médoc, in the 2023 edition of the Telethon, in the Palio room.

The young Taillanaise intends to contribute to the promotion…

Lou Méchiche has a busy schedule. Lately she has been doing the You-F Festival in the Landes, festival combining concerts and debates. She went testify at the college of Mios, during disabled citizens’ days. Saturday December 9, she will participate at home, in Taillan-Médoc, in the 2023 edition of the Telethon, in the Palio room.

The young Taillanaise intends to contribute to the promotion of parasurfing.

ISA/Pablo Franco

In the meantime, this young 17-year-old athlete participated in the Parasurfing Worlds in Huntington Beach, California, in November, where she once again enhanced her record by winning a team world champion title with the French selection and a individual bronze medal. Still on this legendary spot on the west coast of the United States, she won the Para Surf League (PSL) World Tour in the Blind partial category (visually impaired people). A harvest rewarded on its return with a festive welcome from supporters. ” Something crazy. Lots of people were waiting for me with flags. They sang, organized an aperitif. I didn’t expect such strong support from my city,” confides the young woman.

See Surf

Despite a significant visual impairment, Lou Méchiche has been surfing for ten years. She first got a taste for it vicariously. Listening to the stories of his brother Hugo returning to the sand of Pin Sec beach (Naujac-sur-Mer), wet hair and board under his arm. But very quickly, words are no longer enough for his happiness. The kid is stamping with impatience.

Suffering from a glioma of the optical pathways, she however had to wait until the end of her chemotherapy to take the plunge. She started with the See Surf association, partner of the Lacanau Surf Club. Everything she had imagined is confirmed. “The feeling of freedom was all the more intense as it coincided with the end of my treatment. On the board, I am no longer sick or disabled. I do not think about anything. All my remaining senses are on alert,” she smiles.

Lou Méchiche with his parents Francine and Cyril, without forgetting his guide dog Pita.

Olivier Delhoumeau

Hope surfing pole

In competition as in training, Lou Méchiche goes into the water with a guide. “He is my eyes, announcing to me the arrival of the wave, its shape, whether it breaks to the right or to the left. He must give me the impetus at the right time, neither too early nor too late,” she explains. A subtle game of anticipation where everything is played by fractions of a second and by voice, the accompanying person being unable to provide any physical help. The adjustment is fragile because the pair often changes from one test to another.

“On the board, I am no longer sick or disabled. I do not think about anything “

Determined, Lou Méchiche knows that she can count on the support of her family. “I help her to be her driving force when she needs it but without any family pressure. I don’t want to push her. I’m always afraid of that,” emphasizes Cyril, the dad.

Since the start of the school year, Lou Méchiche has been attending the Nouvelle-Aquitaine surfing hope center in Biarritz. Independent, she travels every day with Pita, her 4-year-old guide dog and works on her first grade classes in Braille. A dream ? May parasurfing one day become a discipline at the Paralympic Games. Unfortunately, it will not be for Paris 2024. Los Angeles in 2028? She believes in it and is ready to catch the wave.

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