There are moments in one’s life, that will never be forgotten.
Surfing in the They Will Surf Again expression session Sunday was
one of those moments. It was a heat some were calling “the best heat
of surfers ever -- surfing together at one time.”
Starting with six-time world champ Kelly Slater, current world
champ CJ Hobgood and former Pipeline Masters Champion Rob Machado and
many more, just to name a few. But the highlight of the heat was
Jesse Billaurer, who in 1996 broke his neck while surfing and is
paralyzed from the neck down.
Billaurer, who never once gave up on his dream of becoming a pro
surfer, now is surfing with the some of the best in the world with
the help of others and some custom-made surfboards made by Al
It was an incredible feeling to be a part of something with so
many great surfers, as well as surfing in front of tens of thousands
of screaming fans showing their support. My mom and dad were watching
along with my girlfriend and brother as well as other close friends.
Talk about a surfing moment of a lifetime -- surfing in the U.S. Open
and getting mobbed by autograph seekers, that was a pretty surreal
But more than anything, more than money, more than world rankings,
more than fame, is the feeling I get when I know that doing something
that I have loved so much my entire life is now helping others in
there own lives. Whether or not it’s teaching young people how to
surf or being a co-founder in my foundation, “They Will Surf Again,”
the goal is the same, helping others learn how to enjoy a healthy
* JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach resident, professional surfer
and co-founder of “They Will Surf Again,” a nonprofit foundation
assisting people with spinal cord injuries. He was also a member of
the Water Quality Advisory Committee.