At 21 years old, Candy Dungan picked up a longboard for the first time and her world has never been the same. The Golden, Colorado skater started taking the sport of downhill skateboarding seriously and entered her first professional competition in 2016. Quickly, Candy was able to capture the attention and respect of many spectators, sponsors, and athletes in the sport. She took second place in the North American Tour in 2016 and went on to beat all other racers in the first race of the 2017 World Circuit. Building on that momentum, Candy began training for the 2018 World Circuit.
It was here where everything changed. During a training run in Colorado Springs, Candy crashed into a metal guardrail at 45mph while taking a downhill turn. Despite wearing a spine protector, she suffered a T-11 complete spinal cord injury from the crash and is now paralyzed from the waist down. Candy's doctor mentioned that "she has a three-percent chance of walking again."
Since injury, Candy has lived every day with one goal: to defy the odds.
Currently, Candy is embarking on a long recovery process inclusive of physical therapy and multiple acupuncture sessions each week. Recently, she completed an assisted walk with crutches and continues to reclaim pieces of independence each day. So far, she is well on her way to defy the odds and get back on her board. Not that she really ever left her board, that is . . .
One would think that a complete spinal cord injury is more than enough to prevent someone from “bombing” as Candy would say, massive hills and mountain-side roads on a plank of wood with wheels, but not Candy. Earlier this year, she began practicing adaptive downhill street luge, like downhill skateboarding but from a seated position. She started to make great progress just days after getting familiar with the board. Candy claims to have been able to "by[ass the initial learning curve" of riding the street luge because several "technical aspects" are similar to downhill skateboarding. Her confidence in her adaptive street luge career and overall recovery is growing with every mountain ride she takes on.
Candy Dungan is the true embodiment of a rebel female and Babe Shredder. When asked what Babe Shredder meant to her, Candy stated, “It’s about female empowerment and increasing the representation women receive in action sports and the media in general.” Candy appreciates the low-pressure environment Babe Shredder creates where “women can come together to celebrate one another in their different board sport disciplines.” Her advice for younger women who are interested in joining the world of board sports and the Babe Shredder movement? “Take advantage of everything that comes your way. Stay strong. Don’t let anybody stop you.” Speaking true to her own words, Candy plans to support efforts in making adaptive street luge an official division of street luge competitions. Currently, adaptive street luge is not accepted by luge competition officials. Babe Shredder and all board sport industries are lucky to have Candy Dungan as a leader and advocate.
Follow @candybombing on Instagram or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/candice.dungan to follow her progress and new street luge career.
Article by: Cayson Ehlinger
Babe Shredder Journalist