Not even losing a leg could stop this veteran from doing what he loves most: surfing. However, he never expected to lose his prosthetic leg while out riding the waves one day. Afterward, the veteran felt sure he would never see his leg again, and would have to pay through the nose for a new one. Thankfully, a local teenager changed all that…
Losing The Essential
An Afghanistan War veteran from Florida, Carter Hess never stopped surfing, even after losing a leg while overseas. However, one thing did change when he had a prosthetic leg: the costs. Instead of using a regular surfboard, Hess has to use expensive, specially-designed models. Meanwhile, the veteran also needed a custom-built prosthetic leg, one made for sports and the water, which cost him a whopping $3,000! So, you can imagine how upset Hess felt when he lost the one-of-a-kind limb in the ocean. “I knew immediately it was off of me. I’ve surfed in much bigger waves, and it never came off like that,” Hess said.
For hours, Hess swam and dove, looking for the leg. Unfortunately, he found nothing. “I don’t think I would have ever found it,” Hess commented. For years prior, the veteran’s friends had sent him funny posts about prosthetic legs washing up onshore around the world. “I surf a lot, and so every time a leg is found, they get a kick out of it,” Hess said. Now, the surfer found himself in one of those stories! Then a few days later, Hess’ friends found a story about a local 13-year-old boy who had found a leg while diving!
On the day Hess lost his prosthetic leg, a 13-year-old boy had gone diving near St. Andrews’ State Beach, where the veteran had been surfing. While on the dive with his father, the 13-year-old, named Sebastian Morris, saw something interesting buried in the sand and decided to bring it to the surface. Underwater the could not tell what it was, but on the surface, the Morrises could easily see it was prosthetic leg! So, they started a social media campaign to find the owner.
A local newspaper, the News-Herald, picked up the story immediately, trying to help find the owner. That’s how Hess’ friend saw the article! Within a few hours, Morris and Hess got in touch and arranged a meeting. When they finally met, Hess discovered that the leg was less than 30 feet away from where he had lost it! “I’ve been very upfront that this is an amazing, great young man,” Hess said. “A lot of guys, especially treasure hunters, would have just put it in a trophy case — but he realized it could be important, and someone could need it.”
Despite his close call, Hess has no plans to stop surfing. In fact, he returned to the water the day after he lost his leg! That’s a surfer for you!