Everyone loves a comeback story, and when you’ve had a traumatic injury yourself you’ll suddenly take even more of an interest. Australian surfer Bede Durbidge’s heroic recovery from a shattered pelvis popped up on my feed the other day, alongside an article about Owen Wright and what little information there is on his recovery after a wipeout of his own at Pipe last December. I also found myself looking back at articles about Shawn Dollar, the big wave surfer who broke his neck as well as suffering a traumatic brain injury at Maverick’s last year.
I broke and dislocated my own neck surfing a head high day at Boomerang Beach on the east coast of Australia. The wave had closed out and I went to dive under it in the same cavalier way I’d done thousands of times before. It was much shallower than I realized before diving headfirst into a sandbank. My head flexed forward and I blacked out for a second before it snapped back. I walked out of the water holding my head up with my hands.