Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Surf experience of a lifetime


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

surfing lifestyle.


* 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.