Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MONUMENTAL Day! New Knees + Head-High Glassy Waves + 4 Months, 3 weeks + I Gotta Surf Now = YES, It Can Be Done

Breaking News....You guessed it...I SURFED!  With 4 months 3 weeks of rehab under my belt and that "OK...Today's the Day" mental signal, I gathered my gear and went for it.  The actual day of the surf session was 2 days ago on December 20, 2009; my Bi-Lateral Total Knee Replacement (BTKR) surgery date was July 27, 2009.

So, for all of you surfers and joint replacement brothers and sisters that may have been wondering...Yes, you can have both knees replaced after BTKR and SURF.  Yeah Baby!  I've still got some more rehabing to do, but Life is better now that I've got my new knees and some salt water back in my veins. 

For all of you that are considering joint replacement, especially if you're quality of life is going down hill because of your bad joints; then getter done.  Evaluate the doctors, the type of knee joint, the type of surgery, (old school methods vs. minimally invasive and computer assisted), and your mind set.  You can review all that went on with me and my BTKR by reviewing my blog.  You gotta be positive and have faith that all will be good (prayers work); and you gotta rehab....push it....and don't stop.  Occasionally, there may be some set backs, but don't give up.  I did both of my knees at the same time only because I've had bi-lateral ACL knee surgeries in the past (twice) and just wanted to get it over with.  Either way, one knee or two, you need to be in shape...cause it's not a cakewalk.  A great health supplement also helped with my recovery (see notes in column to the right).

So here's how the surf day went down...

The day before, I was riding my bicycle around town; to the gym; to visit a few friends; then back home...I was feeling pretty good both mentally and physically...and spiritually too!  No surf check that day, but I was following the conditions online....hmmm.

The day of the session, was slightly overcast in the morning...got up late.  Went to Church at: 11:30 am.  Weather was looking good now, sun was out and NO wind.  I decided to stop by a temporary storage unit that we had rented to store some stuff left over from our move back to Los Osos from Pacifica in September; the stuff included my Surfboards and wetsuit.  Went back to the house; did an online check....hmmm the tide was dropping from a 5.9 to a 0.4 between 11am and 6pm, was the tide to low over the reef now that it's 2pm???...naw, it's still workable....go for it!

I then drove to top of hill for that anticipated surf check, and yes, the ocean surface was smooth and clean with lines and A-frames; I new that the surf would be good at ......(can't  tell ya where)...Yep, sure enough, some of the boys were out, but coming in as the tide was dropping; especially hazardous on the rights.  Some of the boys (I say boys cause there were no females in the line-up) were at the beach break surfing close-out barrels.  OK, I'm out there on the lefts...worst case, I'll get a good paddle in.

Paddled out on my 8'6" high-performance longboard and NO knee braces for the first time in about 12 years.  I'm thinkin that I might be surfing on shorter boards again....

So I surfed 4 waves with 3 of them about 100 yards each! 2 other unknown guys on the lefts. First wave I was tentative but made the drop while finding my feet and gingerly making the turns...how hard could I turn?  The next wave jacked up; I took off late with weight on the back of the board, just pulling the nose up in time and making a good bottom turn into a nice wall....then bigger cut-back toward the white water, then quick cut back into hollow section for a ways, then to the nose...yes!  Good One.  Ok ...next 2 waves broke on my head; I found enough energy to keep going; here comes another so I spin and gooooo; ah oh, bumpy face, I got it; oh no, where are my feet....boom; I fell off!  Ok, one more wave, where is it...the sun is going down...sure is beautiful out here!  There it is, I'm going for it; paddle, paddle, paddle; got it, I'm late, weight back,  I'm floating down, yes, make the drop and turn....need to get off the tail; Ok I'm good ...nice wave, cut back and work the inside!  Alright, that's enough for now....so I caught an insider to the shore north of the rocks.  This is a Good Day!

I'd like to give a special shout out to my wife for her love and patience and to my fellow knee replacement friends for their support/encouragement: Surfsister, Fish, Greg Cochran, and all at BoneSmart.org.  And to all my family, friends, doctors, nurses, PTs...and dogs :)

Peace, Love, and God Bless!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka, Happy Holidays to all!



  1. Wooooooooooot!!!!! You've just made my day! I was thinking you were nearing the time when you would do your first bionic paddle out. Seriously, I had just been thinking it was your turn. And then I read this! Hot damn!

    See, we are leaving the paper trail for those who follow. It can be done. It ain't easy. It's also nowhere near impossible. You just have to get serious about your recovery (which is what you did) and just do it!

    I'm proud of you . . . and me! We did it together really! I'm enjoying this bionic life, aren't you?

  2. Good, very very GOOD!
    Nice detailed acount of the wave by wave feel and beauty.
    Are you goofy foot, like Surfsister, as well?
    My single level,
    neck fusion is feeling better. But my knees have some grade III arthritic lesions with pretty good meniscus in each. Skating too much years ago. Contemplating Stem cell therapy in Colorado.

    Thanks Tom for the inspiration and your wife's art is outragoeus too! Take it easy.

  3. Dude
    Right on...I knew it was just a matter of time you would be rockin' great job. I got my first waves New Years Day 4 Chest high water temp 39 degrees, 5mm suit, air temp 39, and man it felt great. Happy New Year to you and the family. I will call you to catch up.


  4. Tom, i've been looking for some info like yours. Both of my knees were replaced 11/20/09 (big ouch) now 76 days later i am on a cane and feel that i have many-many months before i surf again. i'm a 6 years older and 40 lb. overweight and need any and all info to keep me on the path. Keep up the good work, stay wet and keep the faith.


  5. I never go to my doctor anymore asking for pain killers prescription and then be turned down at the end, all I do is order online from www.medsheaven.com hassle free and low cost, they have three pain killers listed on their website which are ultram tramadol celebrex that you buy, and the best part is no prescription required!!!

  6. Ya if there are knee pain becomes more stressful for the knee problems and we want to enjoy our life more so we should get advice of our surgeon about knee surgeries as bilateral knee replacement