Big Wave Surfer, Billy Kemper's Brush with Death

Big Wave Surfer, Billy Kemper's Brush with Death

Using what nature rolls their way and letting it bring out the best in them: that’s what surfers are good at.

And when it comes to riding the BIGGEST waves, professional surfer Billy Kemper’s the best at that—Big Wave World Tour Champion kind of good.

The thrill of surfing is knowing that nature can throw a curve at a moment’s notice—literally. And as hopeful as the wave began as it was hitting its peak, the wipeout happened in the blink of an eye, leaving 2018 big-wave world champion and a four-time "Jaws" event Champion Billy Kemper immobile with a "pain you can’t describe“ - a broken pelvis, a collapsed lung, a muscle contusion on his quad, and three different torn ligaments in his knee as his body slammed the rock below leaving him unconscious and blacked out from the pain.

Waking up with his diagnosis and heading into surgery, Kemper suddenly went from being at the top of his game to the sidelines—from being ready for the perfect offshore wind, to being forced literally off-the-shore and into a hospital bed. 

But, after a year of being ever-present in the driver’s seat, his road to recovery is nothing short of miraculous. At first glance, the world famous surfer and Dad of four looks like anyone else – smiling as he grabs his surfboard for his daily trip the beach but behind that exterior is a man that‘s grateful for every day moments he‘s been able to experience with his family and truly lucky to be alive.

A Quick Look Back at February 2020 from Billy —

“The stars were aligning to have one of the most successful Morocco surf trips of my entire career.

But, of course, right at the very end of this trip-of-a-lifetime, when everything seemed to be in the absolute, perfect place—I picked the thickest, gnarliest wave to ride.

Shortly after picking me up in the air, it drove me into a rock, slamming the right side of my body down and knocking me out.

That rock started an eight-month long battle against myself.

It had brought up submerged feelings that I had never experienced in my entire life—even ones that hadn’t come up when I lost my mom to her terminal illness. That rock was heavy—with more than just its physical presence. It made me feel like I was drowning over and over again, getting closer to hitting rock bottom in my own life. It injured me, and through that injury, it felt like it was slowly trying to kill me.

That rock changed my life forever.

My first goal had been to return to my family. I couldn’t even think about surfing—I couldn’t even look at it. There was so much trauma. But the goal alone of returning to my family is what got me through four surgeries over five months.

Through my recovery, I was determined to find the best people in sports medicine, training, training, tissue work, and chiropractic adjustment. I formed a team that I honestly felt was unbeatable. Through this team, I thought, I could then become unbeatable, too.

Recovered and Back Out on the Water

I feel really good right now. The more I surf, the more I find out about myself—as a surfer, with this injury, and as a person, tackling the next wave.

Being a surfer requires having a close link with the Earth. Having the respect for nature to take its course, being patient for the perfect barrel to break, and then riding the wave—and matching its energy.

It takes having a special connection to nature. And through this injury, I believe I had a new opportunity to veer away from the prescribed and into the the natural.

In my upbringing, I hadn’t been familiar with using what grows on Earth through natural ways of healing.

It had taken that rock, that wave, and this injury to lead me to this eye-opening, powerful, and natural form of medicine. It helped me, ultimately, reconnect back to nature, which I believe is one of the key discoveries in my recovery.

I had seen it with my mom when she had a terminal illness She had decided to try THC cannabinoid products, and we had noticed a pretty significant change in her day-to-day. It didn’t cure her, but it improved her appetite, it helped her sleep better, and live her day-to-day with more quality.

So, when I did decide to make the switch, CBD did NOT disappoint.

I felt a tremendous drop in my inflammation, a positive difference in my appetite, and it allowed me to sleep through the night without discomfort. I started to understand how full spectrum fell right in place with my nutrition guidelines and recovery protocol.

CBD and Billy’s Recovery

I believe that it genuinely is about stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things—especially when it comes to what’s natural and what’s grown on Earth.

For me, True Full Spectrum CBD just outshines everything on the market. Using what’s natural helped me heal a lot faster than something synthetic or created in a lab. It worked with my body, not against it.

My day-to-day with full CBD includes Medterra 3,000 mg CBD tinctures—three times a day. After slowly introducing myself to it at a small dosage, I was able to control my pain and inflammation a lot better.  Just being diligent about it, like setting alarms to take it, sometimes in the middle of the night, helped me keep the benefits of pain and inflammation management at a continuous rate. This helped me get out of bed when I woke up and made the recovery process faster and stronger.

It also helped me transform mentally. Using CBD, I gained a different perspective on life and what I put into my body with my nutrition and health. The cleaner it is, the better I'll perform. And at the end of the day, that's all I'm looking for: to feel good, feel strong, and be clean in life.

Look Back to Look Forward

When it comes to the initial injury and the recovery process, I wish I could take all the pain away in a heartbeat. 

But, with what I learned and the impact of the people that came into my life, that moment changed everything for the better. 

Because right after I was allowed to sit up from my surgery—when my feet touched the cold floor of that hospital for the first time—I was lifted up. I found inspiration in the fact that I was able to stand on my own two feet. Literally.

It felt like I was reborn. I've transformed my outlook on medicine, my perspective on full spectrum, and my view of natural products. 

I felt like that was the moment that would help me change my health, surfing, and life for the better.

I’m ready to live my life on my terms.

Big Wave Surfer, Billy Kemper's Brush with Death
Billy Kemper Author

author Image

Written by:

Billy Kemper
Related Articles:
How CBD Pain Cream Helps With Pain & Injury Relief
How CBD Pain Cream Helps With Pain & Injury Relief

There’s not much worse than struggling to recover from a nagging injury.  Actually, there’s at least one: dealing with chronic...

Living Healthy with Alana Blanchard
Living Healthy with Alana Blanchard

We caught up with pro-surfer, soon to be mother of two, and a Medterra family member, Alana Blanchard, to hear...