Cheating death and surfing again

A life threatening accident and discovering the power of prayer

Years ago, I woke up in a hospital unable to move or feel my legs. I wasn’t sure why I was there but would find out I was hit by a car while riding my bike. I had a concussion, some fractured ribs, and my back was broken in three places. I was oddly calm with one thought seemingly on a loop, my lips moving without sound repeating it over and over.

“No way I’m going to be able to surf, and even by some miracle I can again, no way I’ll ever surf the same. Please, God. Please help.”

Shortly thereafter the doctor appeared telling me I was lucky to be alive, even luckier not to be paralyzed. Thankfully, feeling and movement returned to my legs later that day. Nothing was ever the same though. I was broken.

Rehabilitation diluted by pain killers took almost 2 years and the little that I can remember was not pleasant — so what followed should not have been surprising. Divorce, career change, lots of moving from one city to another and way too much drinking. Lots of drinking. So with each year sinking into the next, my prayer for help in the ER grew more distant and sadly even easier to forget.

Then a few years ago, with the hope of getting my life back together I returned to my family, community, and the ocean where I was raised — where I learned to surf.

Memories rushed in of ditching class with a buddy and learning to ride on a waterlogged beater board from the 70’s, then trips up and down the coast, camping with friends, searching for waves. All good times.

And I started surfing again.

It’s been a few years now and it’s taken a awhile to get going but I am going. My back still causes problems. Getting up to my feet quickly is always a struggle. Some days I can’t properly go right, so I just go left. So no massive maneuvers or trying to paddle jockey someone to a wave first. Most of the time I find a less crowded spot and often remember being in that hospital bed freaking out about what was going to happen because I had no idea, except for that one thing: no way I’ll ever surf the same.

Thankfully, my prayer was answered.

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