Senior Editor
Staff

The Inertia

Andrew Jacobson really messed himself last year. He did it, in typical Andrew Jacobson fashion, looking for very large tubes. It was during a trip to Cloudbreak in May when his knee got flip-turned upside down.

On the day of the wipeout in question, Jacobson was surfing during a rising swell that was forecasted to become something magical. The occasional double up rolled through the lineup, but the wave that wrecked everything was an insider. “Basically, I saw this wave coming,” he says. “There’s like three sections on the reef at Cloudbreak, and I was right in the middle when I realized I was too late.”

He jumped off his board, landing feet first on the jagged reef. He felt his knee snap backward, and when he came up, he knew something was very, very wrong with it. The lower half of his leg was dangling limply from this thigh. “When I came up, I looked at my leg and it was the grossest thing I’ve ever seen. My leg was backward, basically from dislocating my knee.”

Advertisement

Thankfully, a few good friends were in the lineup. Mitch Parko, Jake Kelley, and Frankie Harrier rushed to help him get on the boat, where an ER doctor named Mario Quiros who just happened to be there managed to pop his dislocated knee back into place.

From there, it was an agonizing 40-minute ride back to shore and to the hospital. Then, just a few hours later, he hopped on a plane and headed back to Los Angeles. As it turned out, his knee was even worse than he thought: he tore his MCL, his PCL, strained his LCL and his ACL and fractured his kneecap—pretty much everything you can do to a knee.

After seeing a few doctors in Los Angeles, who, apparently, were at a bit of a loss for words after seeing the disaster where Jacobson’s knee was supposed to be, Jacobson ended up taking a recommendation from none other than Laird Hamilton. He told Jacobson about Dr. Neal Elattrache, the doctor for both the Los Angeles Rams and the Dodgers. Laird pulled a few strings, and Dr. Elattrache dove right in and put Jacobson’s knee back together.

Advertisement

Now, some 10 months later, Jacobson is in the middle of a comeback, and he’s got a good outlook. “It was shitty what happened,” he says, “but everything landed in place above the bad situation. I basically want to come back stronger and better than ever, and try to get on surf trips right away. I want to surf my ass off.”

A Snap Back to Reality with Andrew Jacobson from Hunter Martinez on Vimeo.

Newsletter

Only the best. We promise.

Contribute

Join our community of contributors.

Apply