A SURFER from Penryn has won silver at the World Adaptive Championships in California at the weekend.

Charlotte Banfield, aged 19, overcame a seizure to win her first heat and eventually progress to the final, where she missed out on gold to a Japanese girl.

Mum Tanya said: “She had to be rescued Californian style at the end of her first heat, because she had quite a serious seizure in the water.

“She was up again at 7am the next day to compete. People tend to panic when she has a seizure, but I tend to go into mum mode, so they like me to be there to help.”

The Exeter University student, who has had extensive surgery on her legs as her bones were twisted when she was born, was recently diagnosed with cerebral palsy. She also suffers from Asperger syndrome.

Three years ago she joined the Wave Project, an organisation which helps to reduce anxiety and improve confidence through surfing.

“I was quite fragile, quite scared when I first joined, but as soon as I set foot in the water I felt positive and could be myself,” said Charlotte.

“I don’t think a word has been created that can say how happy I am.”

Charlotte, who is studying Marine Biology in Falmouth, entered the national adaptive championship at Watergate Bay “just for a surf” and won the ladies’ competition in September.

From there she was invited to take part in the world event in California and she won through two heats before claiming silver ahead of a Hawaiian in third and a Brazilian in fourth.

Tanya takes her surfing in St Ives and says “Quite often I have to say to her, Charlotte, you’re blue, it’s time to get out.”

Nick Rees, operations manager for Surfing England, said: “It is very rare that an English surfer reaches a final of a World Championship event, so her accomplishment was one for the history books, but to then go and secure a second place and a silver medal was very special indeed.

“This year Charlotte has taken part in the first ever English Adaptive Surf event, and now the first women only adaptive divisions at world championship level - its been a phenomenal year for her and we can’t wait to see what the future brings.”