About this time last year, we shared an inspiring story about photographer Robb Wilson, whose fight against depression had been spun around by a return to the ocean with a camera in his hand. A botched spinal surgery more than a decade ago had kept him out of the water for as long as two years at one point, but with the encouragement of a friend, Robb found a love for ocean photography and a tremendous reserve of untapped talent was being put to work in a new way.
Would you believe it if we told you the next time we caught up with Robb several months later he was just finding himself back in the ocean after another months-long hiatus?
Apparently, while shooting in the water last year, Robb got into the wrong side of a scrap with an 11-foot log. Ironically, it was also the one day he decided not to wear a helmet.
“I usually wear my helmet while shooting and seriously, the one time I didn’t,” he told The Inertia. “Luckily I didn’t get knocked out and I was totally coherent. Immediately, when it happened, I went to feel the impact area of my head and it just kind of felt like a big dent. I couldn’t tell how bad it was until I got to the shore and peeled my hood off in front of a couple of the fellas. Thank God I was wearing a thick wettie with a thick hood.” Six staples and a little bit of recovery later, Robb described the mishap as “not too bad.” But that wasn’t all life had in store for him. With a history of spinal issues, Wilson endured fractures in his T11-T12 vertebrae while snowboarding with his son only about a month after the head injury. “A total fluke and random thing,” he says.
“Surfing photography wasn’t anywhere near my thoughts and all I could do was focus on my struggles at the time,” he added. “I had to sell all my photography gear as well.”
So you can imagine we were pretty happy when all this was accompanied with an, “I’m back in the water,” note and a handful of recent images from the man himself. Somebody or something seems to be hellbent on keeping Robb out of the ocean. And we’re happy it’s not working.
Editor’s Note: Find more from photographer Robb Wilson on Instagram here.