The timing of when I got injured was maybe the hardest part for me. It was only 10 days before the start of Snapper, and I was so excited to get the new year started! I had been working hard and feeling great, so for everything to come to such an abrupt stop was strange.
I knew right when I did it I was going to be out for a while. Mike was driving me to the hospital and we were looking at each other thinking “this really doesn’t look good.” My ankle was HUGE! So when I got the official diagnosis I guess I wasn’t surprised by the fact that I would be out for a little while.
I was off of my ankle completely for about 3 weeks. First, I had a hard cast on it and then a walking boot with crutches. By week 4 and 5 I started feeling a bit better, and I went down to one crutch. Now I’m walking normal again, and I don’t need the brace or the crutch at all.
Watching Snapper was the hardest for me. I think it was so fresh and missing that event really hurt. It was also the first event I watched. After that, when I watched Bells and Margaret River I felt like the blow had been softened a bit. You get in a mindset of erasing the thought of surfing from your mind after a little while.
In terms of staying active, the first 3 weeks were hard. I really didn’t do anything, and I was starting to lose my mind. Fortunately, I was able to swim once I got my cast off, so that was a life saver. Now I am able to train pretty hard again. I’ve been in the gym and also some beach workouts. Moving my ankle and doing agility training in the sand has been incredible rehab, and it’s also a great workout. Prone paddling has been another big one for me.
Regarding physical therapy and treatment, I’ve been getting my ankle worked on a ton. Plenty of soft tissue work has helped to get the swelling down. Now, I am also doing elastic band and bosu balance exercises to get the movement and strength back. It’s amazing how much you lose when you don’t use a muscle for a while.
I’ve noticed that eating clean is especially important when you get an injury, so nutrition has been a big focus of mine. I’ve been incorporating lots of turmeric and calcium into my body. Steph (Gilmore) told me to start eating sesame seeds, so I started eating lots of those too. I’m still not sure if she was messing with me or being serious, but she’s surfing pretty darn good, so I’m listening to her.
Dealing with an injury is hard, but I think if you just look at the situation with perspective that’s the best way to stay positive. Even when it first happened, I just thought, gosh, I’m so lucky to have access to good doctors and amazing family and friends who love me. Also, it’s important to take the chance to learn from the injury rather than just dwell on it. During my time off, I have watched so much surfing, and I’ve been able to learn so much from taking a step back. I think life is about embracing the hard times. There is no point on focusing on negatives.
I think ultimately this injury will benefit me in the long run. It has made me appreciate my health and just being able to go surfing. I’ll never take surfing for granted, and I want to put everything into it while I can.
As of right now, my ankle is feeling really good! It’s at the stage where I am getting pretty intense on my rehab. I can train a bit harder in the gym now. It’s feeling more stable. I have to push it a little to see where it stands, so I’ve been trying to push it, but obviously I don’t want to over do it. I just took my first surf a few days ago on a longboard, and it felt strong. However, I still have a lot of improving to do, and I’m far from 100%. For now though, I am getting better each day, and that’s the most important thing.