“My long-term goal is gold in 2018.”
One of the world’s most experienced snowboarders, New Zealand Paralympian Carl Murphy, is back in training and aiming to return to competition after an injury put him out of action for over a year.
Murphy, who in 2009 became the first para-snowboarder to be named to the national able-bodied team, ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in early 2015 while competing at the X Games.
He had finished on top of the podium at an IPC Snowboard World Cup just the week before and was heading towards the World Championships with the best results of his career.
“It was very disappointing to miss some of the season last year including World Champs because of a serious knee injury,” he said. “Although I did achieve some great results prior to my injury, including winning a World Cup in banked slalom at Big White [Canada]. I have no doubt I can return to form again after my injury. I am slowly building back up in the 2015-2016 season and only racing a few of the World Cup races”.
Murphy is currently training in Whistler, Canada, with Reign SBX Snowboarding, a development programme for able-bodied athletes.
“As New Zealand doesn’t have a snowboard-cross team, training in a team environment is extremely beneficial. Training involves a lot of all-around freeriding at high speed. Focusing on technical aspects at all times. Riding varied terrain and snow pack will have huge benefits in my overall riding,” he said.
Murphy only returned to full training on snow in December, missing the first World Cup of the 2015-16 season in Landgraaf, the Netherlands. However, he is preparing for some of the upcoming international events including the IPC Snowboard NorAm Cup, once again in Big White.
“I always prepare in a similar way each season. I am currently in a one month long training camp building intensity each day. I am really looking forward to racing again after being out injured for 13 months,” he said.
Murphy’s goals for this season are to get his knee back to 100 per cent. Along the way he plans on achieving consistent top- five results at World Cup level.
“It’s a tough goal but I think I can reach it,” he said.
Although his immediate thoughts are some solid results, the New Zealander is already looking towards the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, where he is targeting a Paralympic title.
“I was thinking about 2018 even before Sochi [the last Winter Paralympics]! It doesn’t consume my life but I do think about it a lot,” he said. “Obviously my long-term goal is gold in 2018.”
The next IPC Snowboard events take place in Aspen Snowmass, USA, with a NorAm Cup on 4 February, followed by a World Cup between 5-6 February.
A NorAm Cup in Big White follows from 9-12 February and then a World Cup on 10-13 February.