Wheelchair Surfing

2010 Mavericks surfing competition, by Shalom Jacobovitz.
Used under a Creative Commons license.

2010 Mavericks surfing competition, by Shalom Jacobovitz.

Jesse’s story

Jesse Billauer age , born February 24, 1979, is a well known Californian surfer. Billauer suffered an accident on March 25, 1996 at the age of 17. He hit his head on a shallow sandbar after being knocked off his surfboard by a wave. The force broke his neck, severing his spinal cord at the C6 level and the accident instantly rendered him a paraplegic.

Billauer was told by doctors that he would never surf again. However, Billauer eventually did return to surfing, adapting his surfing technique and equipment to the situation of his current condition. He has become a role model guide to many other surfers, both professional and amateur, on how to life a life to the fullest, despite a life changing injury.  

After graduating from Malibu High School, Billauer eventually enrolled at San Diego State University, with an emphasis in communications. He graduated in 2002. He is also a motivational speaker, and is involved with a non profit foundation, ‘Life Rolls On’ (LRO). Through this foundation, Jesse is taking a leading role in awareness and activism for spinal cord injury research, picking up where Christopher Reeve left off.

Jesse has inspired many young people with disabilities to partake in extreme sports. Patrick Ivison is just one of these young people. He has been in a wheelchair since he was 14 months old, when a car reversed over him and trapped him under the car. His disability has not stopped him from waterskiing, jet-skiing, kayaking, sailing, hand-cycling, playing rugby, surfing and just about anything else his Mother will let him try! He is now an ambassador for Life Rolls On.

Life Rolls On is a division of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. It is dedicated to improving the quality of life for young people affected by spinal cord injury and utilises action sports as a platform to inspire infinite possibilities despite paralysis. 

They Will Surf Again (TWSA) – Is Life Rolls On’s flagship programme. It is an adaptive surfing programme for people with spinal cord injuries and is also a life-changing volunteer experience for volunteers. It is not just about the surfing, recently LRO has added They Will Ski Again and They Will Skate Again programmes.

See www.liferollson.org.

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