I had to wear this back brace for a long time, it was from hips to shoulders it was custom moulded and fitted to exact size.
Obviously I was not allowed to surf.
I can’t quite remember how long it was before I just said fuck it and paddled out with the brace on. Of course it was at Garvies. Unfortunately it was on a body board, I had never tried a body board before but the water just looked too good to be true and the waves way too fun to just sit on the pipe and watch. I just grabbed it and said what the fuck and went.
The body board was a mistake, I hurt myself right away, way too flexible, a surfboard would have been a much better option but the damage was done, it hurt too much.
I am not even sure if the surgery cuts had even healed closed yet, they were pretty ugly at first huge big welting scars down the whole length of my back and another huge one on my hip where the bone had been scraped off.
Honestly I have no idea what I was thinking but I was back out there again, this time on a surfboard, it was just too good to ignore. I have thought about this a lot in the past, what drove me to take such a huge risk for such a short term moment of pleasure, was I just young and stupid ?. I always thought that was it, but then at 45 a father of 3, in theory a responsible adult, three weeks out of hospital with 6 broken and damaged cervical vertebrae and 2 titanium discs inserted. I looked at the ocean in front of my house grabbed my twin fin and paddled out at the exact same spot I had nearly drowned and caught a wave.