Those legs work of yours work? You can surf? Celebrate!
We all get the blues. Who don’t? I’m still wrestling with a decade-long problem of a pinched stance, a legacy of switching to, and riding exclusively, four-fin stumps.
Every year or two I’ll switch to a regular sorta shape, start to hate surfing, persist, hate surfing some more, nail one turn closer to the pocket than anything I’ve done in the last year, futilely persist some more, become depressed, throw board on the used pile, return to stump, wait for swagger to return.
But ain’t it great that, for most of us, in a world full of curveballs our worst problem is a sticky rail, a pinched stance or, maybe, a long-term relationship with a girl who recoils at your twitching womb-scraper?
Anyway, while we weep, there are people out there who don’t got a thing in their limbs. No electricity. Not a twitch. Not a damn thing.
Remember Jesse Billauer, the pal of Kelly Slater and Rob Machado, who snapped his neck when he was 17 and who went on to pioneer surfing for other paraplegics and quadriplegics?
These days, Jesse rides Cloudbreak (on a power-assisted board by Wavejet), and even busted a leg surfing on the North Shore a while back.
A few years ago, Jesse became the CEO of the Life Rolls on Foundation, a not-for-profit that believes “that adaptive surfing and skating could inspire infinite possibilities beyond paralysis.”
Yesterday, the foundation hit New York’s dirty old Rockaway Beach. In summer’s onshore goop, we watch as paralysed men, women and kids are necklaced in surf thrills.
“A lot of these people look forward to that 20 or 30 minutes for 364 days,” says Billauer.
“The water was really nice too, better than any cup of coffee you ever had,” says New Yorker Nick Romanski.
Watch one kid from the Bronx, blind, can’t speak, paralysed. You think you got it bad?
“It’s undescribable the feeling I get to watch my son on something that I thought he would never be able to do. And here he is surfing. He loved it. He was laughing and giggling,” said his mother Margaret Deeney.
Watch it here and see how good your tear ducts are at functioning. Oowee. Misty!