Surfing after cervical fusion


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2015
Aquidneck Island Rhode Island
Almost made it 50years without any major surgeries, but on Friday I had to go under the knife for a C4-C5 (ACDF) cervical fusion. I know everyone recovers and heals differently and I'm prepared to plot my own course and listen to my body and physicians, but I'm curious if others here have had similar surgery and how their post-surgery surfing life has been. Advice from lessons learned the hard way, tips gained along the way, stories of positive outcomes and post surgery success, etc.

Surgeon says I'll be able to resume my normal and active pre-surgery life and activities like surfing, hockey and MTB if I stick to his plan. I'm hopeful, optimistic, determined and ready to move forward toward that goal no matter how long it takes.

Health and happiness to all!! As many of us know, it can all change in an instant.


Active Member
Aug 22, 2014
I've had a few surgical procedures with similar recovery processes. Here are a few principles I try to follow, but which may be different for you....

Find a good physical therapist whose goal is to get you to 100% recovery and sports activity. Who will push you. Believe it or not, some physical therapists may be resigned to you living a less full life than you did.
Take on the physical therapy aggressively. I don't mean doing more than they say you should, but do the maximum they say you can. Every day as often as they say.
Watch out for the pain meds. They can fuck with your head. Addiction can happen to anyone.
For me, when I've been mostly recovered but it still hurts I'm often on the fence about surfing etc. My rule now is to just go. Particularly if its small. I can always get back to the beach.
Walk around the block. Frequently.

The technology they have today is way better than when I had my laminectomy 25 years ago. I think you should be optimistic about the results.
Good luck. Stay positive.

Sitting on a surfboard in the water is actually great for my back when it hurts. I think the little micro adjustments you make to balance on the board make you engage all the muscles. Maybe just paddle out when its flat to watch the sunset.

dr flavors

Well-Known Member
Jul 21, 2019
knock on wood no rods and pins for me yet.

i do have 4 friends ( 2 broke neck, 2 broke backs) no cord damage that have "fully" recovered and resumed surf life. somewhat limiting for the 2 shortboarders but loggers tend to be able to come all the way back.

your biggest obstacle is age and recovery. even with my relatively minor injuries, i find i compost fast when i cant follow my regime. best of luck. and remember its baby steps getting your body back. dont rush your rehab. take it slow and build off each step forward.



Well-Known Member
Jun 9, 2019
San Clemente, CA
No cervical fusion here, but after several surgeries leading to a three level lumbar fusion, shoulder surgery, and wrist surgery. My advice is to follow doctors orders, but to resume your normal activities as soon as the doctor gives the okay. I feel the best rehab you can do both physically and mentally is to get back to what you love as soon as you can. Treat the mind as well as the body.


Active Member
Jul 9, 2007
USA New Jersey,Maryland
Best wishes on your procedure. I've been through many and there is lots of good advice here from Fishy, dr flavors and Ricksurfin. I'd add that yoga (very gentle at first) helps regain your flexibility which you lose quickly in the early days of recovery.


Active Member
Aug 6, 2018
Think josh hall! That board is calling your name. Get well soon. If you need anything at all? Give me a call.


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2015
Aquidneck Island Rhode Island
Gracias! I'm in it to win it and know it's a marathon and not a sprint. I'm listening to my body and have learned over last couple of days when it is talking. I've seen first hand the damage done by opioids, and Fishy you could not be more right in that they don't discriminate with who they destroy so I am resigned to the pain and have my mind in the right place battling it so far. I'm not gonna let big pharma and someone more concerned with their cell phone derail the life we've built.

That JH is one of the carrots i'm dangling in front on my face to get me to the finish line. Thanks to you and Glidewaves for making happen and appreciate the offer.

Hope you scored Friday!


Well-Known Member
May 8, 2013
USA Rhode Island
Damn man!
Answers the "Where's that truck in the grass lot...?" question.

I was just going to contact you about any leads on a hardtail bike in our size.
F%$# all man...
Heal strong and even.
You will with things to look forward to and starting from a really good base.

Talk soon and find me if you need anything.
- Keith


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2015
Aquidneck Island Rhode Island
The truck will be back in its spot soon enough, amigo. Let the riff raff know their stay in it is only temporary! :cool:
Taking a page out of your book and focusing on positivity and good energy each day. I've always tried to anyway, but now I'm more conscious of it than ever.

Actually might know of something for you in the hardtail species, I'll reach out and see.

Thanks for the good words and offer. Appreciate it!
As soon as I can drive I'll be checking in down the beach to watch the crew having fun and get my salinity fix.

I'd say I hope you've been in the water with the bumps we've had, but I have no doubt you have been.

Be well!