An ominous logotype leads to near disaster.

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In 1988, I painted one of those old, really big Pro-Tec helmets black with the Suicidal Tendencies logo on the side. One day, Waddell Creek was blowing at 26 knots and there were 12- to 15-foot faces on the outside. So I strapped my helmet on and went windsurfing. 

I did a big forward loop and pooched it, came in headfirst, and didn’t tighten up my neck. My head slammed the water with all that extra surface area from the helmet. BOOM! Broken neck. I remember lying there and saying to myself, “Oh, I fucked up. I guess I’m gonna die.” I was face down and couldn’t move in the water. I’d swallowed my tongue and was suffocating. I could hold my breath for three minutes back then, so I had time to contemplate my life. The shorebreak was 6 feet away and dumpy, and rescuers lost me several times in the surf while trying to get me to shore. I subsequently died. Blue on the beach. I eventually came back to life after 20 minutes of CPR. 

At the hospital, they put me into a coma for six weeks. Coming out of it with morphine dreams was crazy shit. I was paralyzed. Recovery came slowly. It was six months before I could kind of walk with braces and canes.

Still, I was back in the shaping bay almost immediately after I got a walker. It took me a whole day to do a board, but at least I was in the room. I had to retrofit all my tools, because my entire right side was paralyzed. It still is to this day. Now I shape left-handed even though I’m right-handed. Adapt or die, baby! 

I have a pencil neck, so if I wasn’t wearing that helmet, I probably would’ve just slid right into the water and been fine. Am I still a Suicidal Tendencies fan? Obviously.

[Feature image by Kevin O’Rourke.]