Von Froth heads to Skelly Bay
“As a Kid I always dreamt about getting barrelled for a minute, there is only very few places in the world where you get such long perfect wave.. Namibia is the queen of all queens when it comes down to riding endless barrels, as a goofy I had to go there”.
I can’t go into detail but I know for a fact a lot of men are having a tough time right now for various reasons.
I wanted to post a story to show that no matter how bad you think things are, life can always get better with time and bit of help. Then I got a message from Tyler Farnham.
Tyler had everything going for him at 26, and then he hit rock bottom, literally, as his parachute didn’t open. I mean if you are going to hit rock bottom that is the way to do it, hey!
You’d think a parachute failing to open would be the worst thing that could happened to a bloke, but it also had knock on effects. He lost his job, got dumped and became dependent on drugs…But Tyler is was resilient and here is the story of how he overcame it all…
Waking up in a hospital bed was not how I imagined I would be spending my 26th birthday. I listened to the Doctor rattle off my injuries: broken legs, broken arm, shattered jaw, broken teeth and a fractured skull. Immediately, I thought to myself, my life is over.
This was April 16th 2009, the day I turned 26 years old, and five days after I survived what should have been a fatal skydiving accident. A malfunctioned parachute at a low altitude along with a couple critical mistakes on my behalf, sent me spiralling to the ground with a force similar to being hit by a school bus.
I had an active promising life ahead of me before it was all turned upside down. I was a lifeguarding Captain in Cocoa Beach Florida, studying to become a Firefighter. My life was shaped around surfing, skydiving and long summer days working on the beaches where I learned to surf as a kid. I also had a hot Billabong model girlfriend, you could say this was the icing on the cake.
Then I was faced with questions I never would have thought to ask myself.
Will I ever surf again?
WIll I ever skydive again?
WIll I ever be a lifeguard again?
These were all questions I would repeatedly ask myself with no clear answer day after day for the following months. When I began writing, it was a couple weeks into my rehabilitation stay. Using my left hand, I would scribble notes on a pad of paper. Who came to visit me that day, what did I accomplish, how do I feel? Bedpans, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy became my routine to relearn the simple habits we all learn as children.
I stood up with assistance for the very first time on Mothers Day, May 10th 2009 after a surgery to clean an infection in my right thigh where my femur blew out of my leg. I had a glimpse of hope… but not for very long. In the following days I had to undergo a second surgery on my jaw, leaving my mouth wired shut for the following two months. Restricted to a wheelchair and drinking all of my meals through a straw was how I lived my days in May and June of 2009.
This was only the beginning of the story. Then came the breakup with the girl I was then in love with, followed by a strong dependency on my Oxycontin prescription. There was never a clear path for me to follow, only obstacles I had to somehow overcome. I used my writing to keep focus, along with drawing, music and level headed friends.
Eleven months of rehabilitation led me back to my job on the beach, surfing and once again jumping out of planes. Those eleven months were filled with drama, heartbreak, pain and a whole lot of uncertainty. Never would I have imagined that those left handed journals I jotted down on those gloomy days in May of 2009 would have led me to the life I am currently living today.
Fast Forward ten years later.
January 1st 2020, my dream job awaits at Nihi Sumba here in Indonesia as the staph infection and cellulitis is spreading throughout my foot and ankle. Two surgeries later, and no promise the skin graft will take, I’m left doubtful about my future, yet again.
April of 2020 and the world is changing. When the skin is finally intact I start walking again, limited motion in my foot and ankle. I think back to those months in 2009, having to overcome similar battles.
Going day by day, with nothing but positive thoughts and people.
Tracking my progress through journal entries, focussing on the good.
Not thinking too much about the future, as we have no control of what’s in store.
Learn something new, practice a passion, any passion.
Reach out to friends and family, offer support and just be willing to listen.
Having a routine during this time has kept me on track, and sane. For the months that I was unable to surf this year, I would focus on meditation along with some form of exercise to get my blood pumping and heart racing for those much needed natural endorphins. From walks, to burpees to shadow boxing, anything to keep me moving in my small room where I’m left quarantined and rehabilitating back to full health.
We are living through such a historical time. What will we tell our kids that we did during the time of 2020, the Covid times. I like to think many will have done something great.
Now as surfing is back in full swing, the outlook is still hazy. But one thing I know for sure, we can overcome whatever’s next. As human beings we are resilient, sometimes we just need to be challenged in extreme ways in order to realize this. I often remind myself, I am not the only one struggling with finances, relationships and life in general… we are ALL in this together.
So here we are. If you are reading this and it hits a note, stay positive and find support. Pleas do not revert to stereotypes.
If you know someone who should talk, or find help please encourage them to do it.
The pressures of life, events and peoples actions (including on social media) are putting people into desperate positions at the moment. The thing that has struck me is that most of the problems I have seen are not unsurmountable, and in all cases there is hope on the horizon if the people involved can see it.
Another factor is that men tend to get was sad and angry for being sad and angry as they think that it is a sign of weakness. Which it just isn’t.
They also think they should be take everything on their own shoulders and not bother anyone else with their problems. And again just not the case.
If you need help please have chat with family or friends, call your doctor or if you want to remain anonymous call 116 123 in the UK, or find your local group.
And maybe buy Tylers book. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1943302049
This issue we have ramped up the quality with a thicker magazine and a new look. Inside you will find amusing and hopefully inspirational tales such as Ben Avery on the highs and highs of being locked down on the island of Gods, Ben Larg – the big wave charging grom from Tiree, the miraculous recovery of Alex Botelho, Mike Lay on the new normal in surf travel, and three lads from Exeter who got stuck in their own surf camp.
Our cover is shot by Al Mackinnon who we caught up with for a chat and a group of friends hire an old trawler and explore the Alaskan coast. We also have the 2020 board guide, because a new surfboard is always a good idea! Plus much more.Issue 203 will hit newsstands next week, but if you subscribe now you will get it delivered to your door.