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Nathan Florence surfing Jaws

The wave that broke Nate’s back. If there’s one guy who’s willing to pay to play, it’s Nathan Florence. Image: Screenshot/YouTube

The Inertia

Last week, Pe’ahi got really, really big. On Oahu, the swell was big enough to almost see the Eddie run. While a few North Shore staples stayed home, a few like Nathan Florence headed to Jaws. And Nathan Florence paid the price. A back injury he sustained that at first looked to be okay was actually a lumbar compression fracture.

“Turns out I have a compression fracture on my T12,” Nate wrote in an Instagram post. “A.K.A, I broke my back.”

The wipeout was an awful one. Florence fell on a huge one, then got picked up and fell through the barrel.

“I fell a lot longer than I thought,” he said at the time. “After the initial impact, I got sucked up and fell again. As I was falling, I was pulling my vest. I just fell a lot farther than I thought and my body was in a weird position. I just slammed on my back on the bottom of the barrel, which is just hard water. Right when I slammed, I just felt kind of a snap in my lower back, right on my spine.”

All things considered, though, his injury could have been far worse. He has no damage to his disc, nothing out of place, no pressure on his spine, and surgery isn’t required. Nate, who is an avid workout enthusiast, credits his dedication to deadlifts for keeping his injury relatively minor.

“Deadlifts are to thank, I believe,” he explained. “Just bone that needs healing.”

I spoke with Nate quickly about his injury and what the future looks like. Nate replied in good spirits, as is to be expected from him.

“I’ve been told about six weeks and then do x-rays to make sure it’s healed,” he told me. “Then I’m good to go. It was the best possible break for a broken back injury. Rehab is just to let the bone heal, body weight exercise; nothing that causes pain.”

Best wishes on a speedy recovery, Nate. Can’t wait to see you surfing Jaws again in two months!


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