When I first picked up Braiden Maither as a flow guy in Maui I was really impressed with his surfing and humble nature. He sent me a pretty sick edit and told me he went to my alma mater, Lahainaluna High School. These days it’s pretty rare to see kids in the surf game who aren’t doing the homeschool thing. I liked that, so I put him on the Body Glove flow team.
Fast forward about 6 months and I received an email from Braiden. He’d lost the ability to surf because of a rare form of Arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis, which effects the spine. I was baffled. It was so bad he had no idea when he would be able to surf again. I couldn’t imagine going through something like that – being a surfer and having that taken away from you so abruptly would be like telling the average person they can’t breathe oxygen anymore.
The next time I heard from Braiden he’d just found a therapy that would allow him to surf again. “Three months of going in and out of hospitals without knowing what I had,” he said. “Another five months of rehab to get my body working again before I could surf. So the doctors give me a shot once a week that keeps all the inflammation down, I do yoga everyday to keep the joints loose, and go to rehab twice a week to keep everything working.”
I was thrilled to hear Braiden was getting back in the water but wasn’t sure to what extent his surfing ability would come back. Then he sent me a new edit – these four minutes of his monthlong trip to Indonesia. It was amazing to see. I think its inspirational to say the least, and what a gift to have your passion stripped from you only to have it given back down the line.