The start of a new year is always a good time to work towards those goals that might have fallen by the wayside. And there’s nobody quite as inspiring as Sue Martin (62) to encourage others! Paragliding, parachuting, parasailing, bungee jumping, abseiling, and flying in an autogyro are just some of the activities Sue has ticked off on her bucket list. And despite a freak mountain bike accident eight years ago that left Sue in a wheelchair, the Renishaw Hills resident hasn’t given up on her life of adventure, with shark diving and bodysurfing already accomplished.
Originally from the United Kingdom (UK), Sue moved with her family to South Africa aged nine, basing herself in Gauteng for a large part of her life. She worked as a computer programmer doing software testing, as well as training people in the field. She met her former husband, the German-born Claus, in 1980 while playing volleyball in Mauritius – a trip she’d won through a contest. The two eventually married in 1984, and have two children together, Melissa and Alexander.
Sue has accomplished more in one lifetime than many could hope to accomplish in 10! She has completed numerous marathons and ultra-marathons including the Comrades and Two-Oceans; she has competed in several Midmar races; participated in a number of cycle races such as the Argus (completed with a broken finger!), the 94.7, Tour Durban, and Amashova, as well as embarking on mountain bike stage races like the Berg & Bush and Sani2C. She has competed in (and won!) triathlons and adventure races.
Her love of the outdoors has seen her hiking in the Drakensberg, on Table Mountain, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and completing the Otter Trail, Whale Trail and Wild Coast Trail. Sue has water-skied, snow-skied, been mushing with huskies in Sweden, and seen the northern lights.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck in 2015 while training for the local mountain bike stage race, Imana, when a freak accident left Sue paralysed from the chest down. However, nothing could break her indomitable spirit, with Sue adjusting to wheelchair living and quickly involving herself in the Quadriplegic Association of South Africa’s (QASA) Sweethearts Foundation Breadtags for Wheelchairs project.
Having lived with her partner, Ron Waldburger, at the beautiful mature lifestyle estate, Renishaw Hills since 2020, Sue has been able to continue taking advantage of the outdoor lifestyle she loves so much. Recalling the decision to move to this Scottburgh-based estate on the Mid-KZN South Coast, Sue said:
Sue is now a founding member of the Renishaw Hills Archery Club, and even competed in a para-cycling event for charity with Ron. Always looking for the next challenge, Sue was excited to be introduced to KZN-based NPO, Made for More, which aims to include, empower and equip people with disabilities through sport.
“I have embraced their willingness to find volunteers and coaches to aid us in surfing,” explained Sue. “These remarkable people sacrifice their weekends so that we can enjoy a morning of wave riding. Recently the ISA World Para Surfing Champs took place in Huntington Beach, California, USA. where the KZN team did very well, all thanks to Made for More!”
Shark diving, too, has been on her bucket list, so when her family came out from the UK, Sue decided to take the dive: “The weather and conditions were perfect. They all dived in the cage and I was the only one who snorkelled. It was very exhilarating to have black tip sharks swim against one’s body!”
Sue says she’s continued to enjoy a life of outdoor adventure from the beautiful base of Renishaw Hills, a place she’s happy to recommend to anyone looking for a quality retirement estate.
“Security, health, the size of gardens and homes are common considerations for all potential buyers when deciding where one wants to spend one’s retirement, and of course affordability. We found each retirement village could tick some, but not all of our boxes. Renishaw Hills ticked all the boxes for us!”
She said one example was that certain places don’t allow for a double garage – something that is a must for a disabled individual.
“We were able to design the house to cater for my needs which makes daily living such a pleasure. The sea views are magnificent, we enjoy wildlife, forests, endless mountain trails, four golf courses within 25 kilometres of each other and nearby shops. There is a good choice of restaurants in Scottburgh and its beach must be one of the best in KZN. There is grass and sand to sunbathe with a lovely lagoon for grandkids to swim safely. But the down-to-earth, honest, caring people at Renishaw Hills make it for me. One never has to feel lonely here as there is always something to do, and always someone to do it with.”
Asked what’s next on her bucket list, Sue didn’t hesitate in responding: “I’m now planning on getting a barrel while surfing. Who knows, I might even get to represent KZN in the next SA Para Surfing Champs!”
In the meantime, Sue will continue to enjoy the whales putting on fabulous shows from the comfort of her home.
Renishaw Hills forms part of the 2.6-million-square-metre Renishaw Coastal Precinct. This is the first development within the mixed-use precinct which is set to include residential, retail, educational, healthcare and light industrial/commercial zones. Residents enjoying the state-of-the-art security of Renishaw Hills have access to high-end facilities, extensive nature trails, and welcoming communities for retirees. This Scottburgh-based estate has just launched Phase 6, a series of high-end free-standing units and maisonettes boasting spectacular sea views and houses surrounded by coastal greenery. While Phase 6 prices are fixed, the anticipated launch of Phase 7 in 2024 will see a potential price increase – all the more reason to secure this investment now.