Surfing to Snowboarding to Surgery

Surfing to Snowboarding to Surgery

November 14, 2019

When I moved from Costa Rica to Whistler, I weighed in at about 215 lbs and was fighting fit.  To put my weight in scale, I am 6’ 0″. Surfing a couple of two hour sessions a day, five times a week minimum had put me into the best shape of my life.  On top of it, a diet of fish, fresh fruit and casado ( rice, black beans, plantains, salad, a tortilla) meant that I was heart healthy too.  



(my house in Tamarindo)

The first few months in Whistler saw some changes to my diet in that I wanted heavier foods such as pasta and bread, but my fitness regime was kept in check with snowboarding, and hitting the gym at Meadow Park four days a week.  In that period, I also started to box and lift some serious weights.  You see, I had dislocated my left shoulder three times in the past playing rugby and surfing, and wanted to keep it strong.

On March 26 2011, I had the worst wipeout of my snow boarding career coming down the flats on Harmony Bowl at light speed.  Someone came out of nowhere and I was forced to stop at a breakneck speed only to catch an edge and become airborne.  Not good.


(Shredding “Stoker” on Blackcomb) When I regained my senses, the pain in my left shoulder was excruciating.  All I thoughts was, ‘oh no.  another dislocation’.  I went straight to Seppos, and even though it was only 1030 am and the bar wasn’t open, the kind Australian bartender on duty had pity on me and plied me with Crown to kill the pain.

The next couple of days I took it easy, and resumed shredding later in the week, with the gym routine the following week.  A month later, the shoulder wasn’t reacting like it should have and I considered going to the Doctor.  But for any of you who remember Spring 2011 in Whistler, that would have meant missing some serious May powder if I was sidelined. 

So, the day after Blackcomb closed I saw the doctor.  Two days later an MRI and news that I had done major damage to my rotator cuff and needed surgery.  While, I didn’t have any power in my shoulder, it was good enough for day-to-day and surgery would have to wait because of some work/personal commitments/issues.  The biggest pain for me was not being able to go to hit the boxing bag, but I survived and ended up snowboarding most of the 2012 season.

In the early Fall of 2012, it was decided that I needed surgery.  I went to my GP on a Tuesday, additional xrays on the Wednesday and saw the surgeon specialist on the Thursday.  Three weeks later I had my operation.  Who said Canadian health care was bad needs their head examined.

After the surgery, the weight started to pile on as I was in a sling for two months and wasn’t allowed any exercise that might put me at risk.  Even going for walks was painful for the first four months.  Who would have thought that?  The problem was that I was still eating like I was working out every day, and somehow I managed to put on about 30 lbs.  Seriously.

 By February I was allowed to sit on a stationary bike and start physio.  But no riding a bike on the street as any wipeout would be disastrous.  And it was the that I made some major changes in my diet by stopping consumption of the following:  sodas, cheese and fast food.  Damn near killed me.  Especially my love for soft French cheeses. 

It is now early June and I am lifting weights again, walking about 50 km a week and swimming.  While I haven’t regained full strength (I am at about 40%), it sure feels good to be active and I am down to about 130 lbs.  Give me another two months and I will be back to 115!


(hauling wood near Gold Bridge, BC)