Breaking his neck at 19 was never going to stop Dave Jacka live life to the full. With just 6% physical function he’s a master of engineering his adventures and environment to suit his disability, by doing it differently.
In June 1988, Dave Jacka was a 19 year old apprentice carpenter.
He loved surfing, snow skiing & being outdoors.
One month later, a motorbike accident was to devastate his life.
Dave was left with quadriplegia, and just 6% physical function. He would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life – paralysed from his armpits down, with limited arm function, no use of his fingers and unable to regulate his body temperature.
But physical limitations have not stopped Dave Jacka.
Dave has travelled the long journey from relearning to feed himself, to representing Australia at the 1996 Paralympics (Wheelchair Rugby) to achieving a world first as the first person with quadriplegia to fly solo around Australia – flying the aircraft by mouth & two arms, with limited function.
His latest and toughest challenge was paddling 2226 km down the Murray River over 89 gruelling days, achieving another world first.
Engineering the adventure
Dave has a project management and engineering background.
He draws on his project management skills when planning adventures, treating adventures as projects and planning them in the same methodical, detailed way.
With his practical engineering background, he is a master of finding innovative solutions when modifying equipment or crafts to suit his disability. Find out more about some of Dave’s innovative Modifications.
Smashing disability stereotypes
Dave is passionate about breaking down stereotypes. The main aim of Dave’s solo flight around Australia was to open peoples’ minds to what someone with a disability can achieve – “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”.
Dave lives life with the notion that we are all only limited by what we believe we are capable of. By seeking out different ways to overcome limitations,”Do It Differently”, we can achieve far more than what we think is possible.
Educating and inspiring
Dave is a professional speaker, who draws on his personal experiences to tell a story. Within the fabric of Dave’s stories, he weaves in powerful, memorable messages, insights gained from his life.
He is passionate about the importance of approaching life with an open mind, setting clear goals and seeking the support of others to achieve your dreams.
Find out more about Dave’s Speaking.
- Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia, 2015
- Victorian Australian of the Year Finalist, 2014
- Victorian Pride of Australia Medal Winner, 2013
- Shine On Award, Victorian Rotary Southern Districts, 2009, 2014
- Represented Australia at the Atlanta Paralympic Games – Wheelchair Rugby, 1996
- Competed at the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships, Switzerland, 1994
- Gold Medal at the Oceania Shooting Championships, 1991