Senior Editor

The Inertia

Just a few short months ago, Nathan Florence broke his back at Jaws. Now, he appears to be almost entirely recovered.

It was in January, and the swell that broke his back was the one almost big enough to run the Eddie in. At first, it appeared that Florence had simply tweaked it badly, but it soon became apparent that it was far worse than a tweak. “Turns out I have a compression fracture on my T12,” Nate wrote in an Instagram post. “A.K.A, I broke my back.”

It could have been much worse, to be sure, and Florence credits his dedication to deadlifts for keeping his injury as minimal as possible.

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

I spoke with Nate quickly after he was hurt to find out the prognosis, and it appears that he’s right on track. “I’ve been told about six weeks and then do x-rays to make sure it’s healed,” he said at the time. “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.”

Now, right on schedule, Nate’s out at near-maxing Haleiwa, paddling somewhere around five miles over the course of the session, and giving that back a full test. The surfing in the video above starts around 13:40, so if that’s what you’re here for… well, skip ahead.


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