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The Inertia

Currently, some of the world’s best big wave surfers are sitting in the lineup at Pe’ahi as cameras capture the action from the channel and above. But, one face is conspicuously absent – that of perennial Jaws standout, aerial maestro, and provocateur, Albee Layer.

Reason being, over a month ago during the Jaws Challenge, Albee took a spill that led to a debilitating head injury. In a note in the video description, Albee explains that the highlight reel above was already in the works when that happened, but his recent injury (one that doctors say could make him at risk for CTE if he continues this way) has caused him to question if it’s all worth it. And while some of his best friends are charging at Jaws, and before the deluge of content we’re likely to see in the coming days, it’s worth taking a moment to pause to consider Albee’s words:

Hi, it’s Albee.

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First off please watch this on something bigger and louder than your phone!

Recently I suffered a head injury at Jaws. It’s a month out and we are still not sure how well I’m recovering. After talking with several doctors the basic analisys (sic) is if I continue the next 5-10 years like I have the last 5-10 years I am at very high risk for CTE and other brain-related complications.

I was already planning to make this edit but it came at a very important time. Going through several years of highlights and slams has helped me start to look at some big questions, mainly is it worth it? Are the highs of surfing this wave now, worth the physical and mental pain it’s very likely to cause later in life, and… I HAVE NO IDEA. I wish I did but I don’t. I’m sure like everything in life it’s about finding a balance.

As of right now I fully intend to get back out there and redeem myself but I also know if I make a few more of the same mistakes I’ll end up not being able to do a lot of the things I love to do, or surf “small” waves good again.

So this edit is basically my own form of therapy trying to figure out where to go from here. I do know I wouldn’t trade the moments I’ve had so far for anything in the world.

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