Distributor of Ideas

The Inertia

Over the years, Koa Rothman has put his body through the wringer. Countless wipeout on countless waves have taken their toll, and finally, Koa Rothman needed spine surgery to fix it. Pro surfer take serious beatings — just recently Jamie O’Brien may have seriously injured his knee at Pipeline.

For years now, Rothman has been dealing with neck pain. Big swells would come, he’d force himself to surf, he’d hurt his neck, and then take a few days or weeks off to heal. But now, after the North Shore winter has come to an end, he decided to have a specialist take a look. And it turns out it really was something serious.

“You have vertebrae in your spine,” he explained. “C5 is a vertebrae and C6 is a vertebrae. In between every vertebrae, there’s this little squishy disc of cartilage that allows your body to move and function however you move. What happened to me is that I actually herniated one of those discs.”

A herniated disc is a relatively major issue. Once a disc is torn, the chances of it ever healing are slim to none. In Koa’s case, the herniation is pressing on his spinal cord. As such, Koa’s doctors recommended he undergo surgery to replace said disc. It wasn’t a decision he took lightly, though — Koa is self-admittedly not a fan of surgery. According to him, he knows plenty of physical therapists and even surgeons who think it ought to be a last-ditch remedy. But in this case, it was. “They said you either stop surfing,” he said, “or you get the surgery.”

Above is part one of Koa Rothman’s road to recovery, and we wish him the speediest of them.

Be sure to subscribe to This Is Livin’ on YouTube to keep up with his journey.


Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.