The Fat Paddler By Sean Smith

Our fascination with other people’s stories seems to be an enduring thing – parrticularly those by everyday folk who face major setbacks in life, pick them¬selves up and start again. Sean Smith’s story is a classic example. As a hard-playing, hard-living rugby forward, Sean was used to putting his body on the line. However, that soon changed when two severe motor vehicle accidents left him with devastating physical injuries, and unable to regain his past physical fitness or his zest for life.

After witnessing first hand 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 that 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.

The Fat Paddler is an uplifting story of personal recovery. However Sean’s tale is more than the achievement of rebuilding a shattered body. It’s reflective of that spirit we admire in others who are determined to refuse to be crushed and to get their lives back together. It’s down-to-earth and inspirational at the same time – and has already captured the interest of thousands of people. Sean’s ‘Fat Paddler’ blog has over 7,000 visi¬tors every month.

A former rugby player, Sean Smith has a growing global following as the Fat Paddler, kayaking into remote places and taking on the challenges of this competitive sport. Team Fat Paddler is also committed to raising money for charity and has donated over $30,000 to two charities in the past two years – the Arrow Bone Marrow Foundation (leukaemia research) and Lifestart (early support for children with developmental issues such as Down Syndrome and Autism). Sean grew up in Adelaide but now lives with his family in Sydney. By day, he manages global brand and communications for an international hotel booking website. He also operates the fatpaddler.com network of websites and social media platforms that have a significant following.

‘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 front rower

Sounds like the perfect gift for Father’s Day but hurry only 6 more sleeps to go!