Photo credits:

#1 Josse Lietaert #2 Zosia Tula #3 Josse Lietaert #4 Johannes Baaden #5 Josse Lietaert #6 Jef Vervrangen #7 Jef Vervrangen #8 Zosia Tula #9 Zosia Tula #10 Zosia Tula #11 Johannes Baaden #12 Lane De Meulenaere #13 Haley McKee #14 Bart Ruysschaert

Lane De Meulenaere

Freestyle / Extreme kayaker, Belgium

I’m Lane De Meulenaere a 24 year old whitewater & freestyle kayaker from Belgium. About 14 years ago, I discovered the wonders of whitewater kayaking and I’ve been hooked ever since. Travelling around the world to find the coolest rivers, drops, waves, etc. to kayak. I unfortunately have severe surfer’s ear (R – 90% blocked / L – 85% blocked), due to all my time on the water and a history of not wearing earplugs.

Since 2018 I’ve been constantly battling ear infections. When I was younger I barely had any issues with ear infections, so I neglected wearing ear plugs for over 10 years of kayaking. I hated wearing them. They would affect my hearing and balance and were very uncomfortable to wear. I tried a bunch of different types, had multiple custom earplugs done. But nothing truly worked. They kept being flushed out by the brute force of the river. That all changed in the last few years… I started having ear infections every single month. Whenever I went kayaking I got water stuck in my ears and that led to an infection. I had my ears checked up by a specialised surgeon. The verdict was harsh, I was diagnosed with major case of surfer’s ear. My left ear was about 85% blocked and my right ear about 90%. Luckily my hearing wasn’t affected. The doctor advised me to drill out the bone growth, unfortunately the recovery time is about 2 months. That’s too much time of the water that I can’t afford in my chase to reach the top in freestyle kayaking. I continued my search for earplugs and kept being disappointed… In 2019 I blew my eardrum in Canada in the beginning of August due to a major infection from dirty water. I completely lost hearing on my right side ear because of it. Unfortunately this lasted until the end of September before I regained hearing again, you can imagine my relief! Since I’ve been using SurfEars I’ve managed to keep my ears dry and keep the ear infections at bay. So, a massive thank you to everyone at SurfEars for all their hard work and dedication in saving people their hearing and eardrums all over the world! It was a harsh wakeup call to become deaf for over 2 months, but it has made me wiser and a grand advocate of wearing -the right- earplugs. A massive thank you for designing these earplugs and for keeping ears safe around the world! I know I’m very thankful for SurfEars being out there!