THE OCEAN and the wind don’t know Paul Tingley is paralyzed.
A breezy day on open water is a great equalizer, where the 41-year-old Tingley has everything he needs to win.
In a wheelchair since the age of 24, the Halifax native is a highly accomplished international Paralympic sailor with a 2.4-metre solo keelboat world championship in the Netherlands in 2010 — only the fourth in 20 years for a disabled sailor — and a gold medal at the Summer Paralympics in China in 2008.
It is a sport where the able-bodied and disabled share the same palette.
'The ocean is just how you manage your challenges to it,' he says. 'From the outside, you would have no idea that any of these (disabled sailors) are different and for me that’s the greatest compliment to our sport.'
The greater the challenge the better, says Tingley. It’s not really sailing until conditions are rough, maybe a bit dangerous. 'I enjoy surfing the big waves. They are the most exhilarating.'