Too many people are ignoring or simply not understanding the warning signs posted at many public beaches.
Just hours after starting his Hawaii vacation, Todd Duitsman was paralyzed from the neck down.
Duitsman and his family flew from Seattle to Maui in July 2014. They dropped their bags at their condo, got a bite to eat and drove straight to Makena’s Big Beach.
An hour later, Duitsman was body surfing in the shore break.
“I jumped off the back of a boat, my chin hit the water in a weird way, and I dislocated my spine, the C4 and C5. The instant I hit the water my body just stopped working. I was looking face down at the bottom of the lake and I just couldn’t move.“
Dreams of one day surfing in Bali were dashed by a simple accident. An old friend inadvertently untwists this fate and convinces Damien that a mystical Javanese healer can get him walking again. Cameras are documenting his newfound belief and rapid response to the alternative treatment. Another six to 12 months more treatment and Damien might be fulfilling the dream of one day surfing in Bali.
CAPE MAY – September has been described as “locals summer,” when the air and water are still warm, and the beaches are not crowded. Chad deSatnick, then 23, was surfing off Poverty Beach, Sept. 30, as he had many times before growing up in Cape May. At the end of his last run, however, his surfboard struck the steep beach break created over the last 10 or 11 years of a state and federally subsidized beach replenishment program. When the board hit the severely sloping sand, deSatnick was toss head first into the hard, wet sand.
His neck hurt, he knew that much, but he was still able to function. He walked around for about a day and a half before his father noticed his was holding his arms away from his body. When asked what was wrong, Chad told his father his arms were tingling.
Second chances are rare in sports, but when surfing phenom Jesse Billauer got his, he also wanted to share it with others like him.
As a 17-year-old amateur surfer in 1996, Billauer was flung head first from his surfboard onto a sandbar. Billauer sustained a spinal cord injury, and doctors diagnosed him as a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the midchest down.
Then in 1999, with the help of his family and friends, he founded a non-profit organization, Life Rolls On, that uses sports to improve quality of life for those suffering from spinal cord injuries. That same year Billauer got back on his surfboard.
LIDO BEACH, N.Y. – Jackie Colby is thrilled to be back on a surfboard.
“It was absolutely amazing; it was the best natural high I’ve ever had in my life,” she said.
The 29-year-old former athlete and surfer was paralyzed last year after falling off the roof of her home.
She’s taking part in a program that brings activities and sports back into the lives of people with spinal cord injuries. Participants surf, kayak, cycle and dance.
For Australian surfer, Barney Miller, his everyday life includes the typical getting dressed, drinking a smoothie, kissing his significant other, and surfing — without the use of his legs and limited use of his arms.
Surf lifesavers targeting swimmers who put themselves in harm’s way have dramatically cut the number of people getting suspected spinal injuries in the past two years.
There have only been 12 suspected spinal cord injuries at WA beaches since this surf lifesaving season began on May 1, according to Surf Life Saving WA.
There have been nine suspected spinal injuries at Mullaloo, Trigg and Floreat beaches – three each – and two at Cottesloe.
Injured warriors catch a wave — and support
HAMPTON BEACH — As a cheering, whistling and hooting crowd watched intently, Greg Major, 49, went surfing for the first time Friday.
It took the help of four volunteers at Hampton’s North Beach to lift Major out of his camouflaged wheelchair that was outfitted with tank-like treads to navigate the beach, and more than a dozen others to help him get safely on the surfboard and catch some waves.
But he did it, thrilling the Hit the Beach volunteers and onlookers by riding more than a few waves into shore