by Lisa Gallo
Kieran Grant, a 23-year-old competitive stand up paddleboard (SUP) racer and surfer, was born profoundly deaf, but that hasn’t stopped him from reaching first place in one of the biggest regions of the World Paddle Association. Florida grown, Kieran started surfing at age nine and was competing by age 11.
The Garden of Life® ambassador transitioned to SUP surfing and racing a couple of years ago, and finished 13th out of 50 at the 2015 Stand Up World Tour Hawaii Opener. His parents, Mike and Zoe Grant, didn’t discover that Kieran was deaf until he was two years old, when they noticed he hadn’t started to speak.
“Deaf children have great coping strategies,” Mike said. “They’re very visual, and they fill in the blanks as needed. So, unfortunately, we didn’t catch it until later.” Kieran was diagnosed and fitted for hearing aids, which he wore until he was 10. Then, his father made the decision to enroll him and his younger sister Abby, also profoundly deaf, into Clarke School for Hearing and Speech in Jacksonville, Florida. The following summer, Kieran had a procedure to receive a cochlear implant. Different from a hearing aid which amplifies sound, a cochlear implant processes sound. However, Kieran cruises through every SUP competition without his implant. “When he’s in a field of competitors where you would hear all sorts of sounds—crashing waves, cheering voices—he doesn’t hear one thing,” Mike said. “It’s the only experience he knows.”
Before each race, Kieran fuels up with a smoothie made with Garden of Life Organic Plant Protein. He recovers with another scoop of protein and follows it up with Wobenzym® N to keep his joints in tip-top shape.
When he’s not competing year-round with his younger brother, Fisher, Kieran works with his father and spends time with his girlfriend. He was also among the top five SUP surfers in the world invited to Costa Rica to star in an SUP surfing film. As for Kieran’s future, he plans to keep riding waves around the world.
“I want to travel a lot, compete in as many SUP races as I can, and be the top guy out there one day,” he said.
Learn more about Kieran Grant by visiting his Brand Ambassador page.