Wellbeing | Motivational | Sport

Brad Smeele

Brad Smeele, a world champion wakeboarder whose life dramatically changed due to a tragic accident, is an epitome of resilience and human adaptability.

His journey from a top athlete to a motivational figure is both inspiring and transformative, making him an ideal speaker for your next event.

Born in New Zealand, Brad dedicated more than half of his life to perfecting wakeboarding, claiming two Junior World titles and becoming known for his innovative approach to the sport. His achievement of landing the world's first double tantrum to blind over a mega ramp won him the 2014 Trick of the Year Award. However, a severe accident while attempting to repeat this trick left him quadriplegic at 27, drastically altering the trajectory of his life​​.

Brad's journey since the accident has been nothing short of remarkable. He approached his new life with an incredible mindset, transforming his challenges into opportunities for growth and inspiration. Recently, he has taken on freediving as a new challenge, working with champion Kiwi freediver William Trubridge. Freediving provides him with a sense of joy and weightlessness, a stark contrast to the restrictions of a wheelchair. His dedication to this new pursuit is evident as he prepares to freedive in the ocean, signifying a life-affirming challenge on his journey from despair to acceptance​​​​​​​​.

Brad’s personal memoir, "Owning It - The Ride That Changed My Life," is an honest account of his journey, where he openly discusses the mental and physical challenges he faced after losing mobility. This book, along with his motivational speaking engagements, underscores his ability to inspire and provide hope. He shares his story at schools and businesses, emphasising the importance of self-acceptance and believing in oneself, especially in the face of societal pressures and challenges​​​​.

In addition to his speaking engagements and autobiography, Brad's quest will be featured in an upcoming documentary, which aims to showcase his highs and lows, from wakeboarding sensation to his life post-accident. This documentary is slated for release at the end of next year and is expected to include a tandem skydive, further demonstrating his indomitable spirit​​.

Brad Smeele is a true embodiment of resilience, embodying the human capacity to adapt and thrive in the face of adversity. His story is not only about accepting change but also about embracing it and finding new ways to live a fulfilling life. Booking Brad for your event means bringing a narrative of courage, hope, and transformation to your audience, which is sure to leave a lasting impact.

Duration: 45 minutes. 15 minutes Q and A.

Essential Talent arranges a prep call with Brad Smeele prior to the event, and provides an industry-standard agreement for peace of mind.


"A great storyteller that had the audience glued to every word. The day was a huge success and Brad sharing his experiences and the knowledge was a crowd favourite and the highlight."

Neil Jackson - Head of Auckland Sales – New Zealand Media and Entertainment

"Brad is able to create a special and unique atmosphere when speaking. He has the ability to develop a very open, honest and safe environment when communicating with others. This ability allows Brad to engage with his audience on a very deep emotional level, influencing, inspiring and motivating those in attendance in a way like no other."

Brad Davis - INFINZ Young Finance Professions, Auckland Chair of the Board

"Brad is a very accomplished and entertaining speaker who spoke to our students with a specific message for their age and stage in their lives. His speech inspired our boys to challenge themselves in the future, to live their lives by three core attributes through attitude, effort and action."

Grayson Aspinall - B.Ed, Dip Tchg Deputy Principal