Albee Layer’s Greatest Hits (and Heaviest Wipeouts) From the Past Five Years at Jaws

A CONCUSSED LAYER WONDERS IF THE JUICE IS WORTH THE SQUEEZE OUT AT JAWS

During the Jaws Challenge last month, Albee Layer attempted to knife into the barrel on a 30-foot west bowl, only to get guillotined by the lip at the bottom of the wave. It was one of his heaviest wipeouts ever.

While Layer looked fine when he surfaced, he’d suffered a serious concussion, one that he’s still struggling with today. “It’s a month out and we’re still not sure how well I’m recovering,” Layer says, in the description along with this Jaws highlight reel aptly titled “The Hits So Far.” “After talking with several doctors the basic analysis is if I continue the next 5- to- 10 years like I have the last, I am at very high risk for CTE and other brain related complications.

“I was already planning to make this edit but it came at a very important time. Going through several years of highlights and slams has helped me start to look at some big questions, mainly is it worth it? Are the highs of surfing this wave now, worth the physical and mental pain it’s very likely to cause later in life?”

It’s an interesting question. CTE and brain injuries are a huge topic of conversation in sports like boxing and football, but aren’t talked about much (if at all) in surfing. We know Owen Wright suffered a serious brain injury at Pipeline. And now Layer is publicly struggling with one of his own. And it’s rattled him enough to re-think his approach going forward at his favorite wave in the world.

“As of right now I fully intend to get back out there and redeem myself but I also know if I make a few more of the same mistakes I’ll end up not being able to do a lot of the things I love to do, or surf ‘small’ waves good again,” Layer continues. “So this edit is basically my own form of therapy, trying to figure out where to go from here. I do know I wouldn’t trade the moments I’ve had so far for anything in the world.”

This article originally appeared on Surfer.com and was republished with permission.

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