Rediscovering A Love Of Surfing

3.15.2016
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Content via Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
Source: 
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

“Ever since I got hurt, I realized I still love to be in the water.”

These are the words of Jesse Billauer who became a quadriplegic as a teenager when he fell off his surfboard. Jesse’s life revolved around surfing, and he wasn’t willing to give that up.

Getting back into surfing after spinal cord injury

Jesse got back in the water after he worked with renowned surfboard shaper Al Merrick to create a special surfboard that would accommodate Jesse’s new abilities. The board was shaped in a way to allow Jesse to lie on his stomach and prop himself up on his forearms. And in this position, Jesse was once again riding the waves. “I don’t hold onto anything. I’m not strapped onto anything,” says Jesse. And not being restrained helps Jesse to regain the feeling of freedom while gliding across the water.

Not only does surfing bring Jesse a sense of both freedom and peace, it also helps take away the burning sensation (also know as nerve pain) Jesse feels throughout his body due to his injury.

“When I’m in that water, nothing else matters. I feel, like… just…free.”

Jesse is the founder of Life Rolls On, a foundation that helps other people get on with life post-injury by helping them get out into the ocean and experience the thrill of surfing.

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