Stab Magazine | Jake Davis, From Up And Coming To A Near Fatal Spinal Disorder

And The Winners Of The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Are... Watch The Pick-Up Episode 5, Presented by Vans, To Find Out

1311 Views

Jake Davis, From Up And Coming To A Near Fatal Spinal Disorder

“I don’t know if I’ll ever surf the way I used to, but I don’t know how much that matters. “

news // Jan 11, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ten months ago, Jake Davis, younger, blonder of brother of Luke Davis, was rushed into emergency surgery to cauterise an out-of-control blood vessel that was strangling his T1 through T4 vertebrae. 

Suffering from a rare disorder called Spinal Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM), for months he had been experiencing crippling pain in his back, neck and head. The symptoms were further exacerbated after he suffered a wipeout in Hawaii in the fall of 2015 that drove him head first into the reef. Eventually he was diagnosed with AVM by Dr Robert Bray, who had discovered the disorder ten years prior. When Dr Bray cut into Jake’s back it was only the 33rd time he’d performed the operation. 

Today, Jake has good days and bad days. And while Dr Bray undoubtedly saved his life, the agony remains.

“On a scale of one to ten, sometimes the pain is an 800,” confides Jake. “It feels like my spine is going to explode while I’m being electrocuted.”

Jake’s career was on the up before this all went down. His approach is like the love child of Luke Egan and Tanner Gudauskas—goofy as that may sound. Now, at a spry 20 years old, he’s happy just to take his friend’s dog for a walk.

“Someday, when I get through this, I want to make as much money as I can and just help people,” he says—a dramatic shift in course for the shit-hot-grommet from two years ago. 

“That’s what this has taught me,” he continues. “Life’s not about material things. It’s not about contest results or sponsors. It’s about appreciating the time you have with the people around you. It’s about giving back and service. I could be dead right now. I’ve got a lot of work to do while I’m here.” 

A couple weeks ago one of Jake’s friends, a San Clemente surfer by the name of Shon Miller, went out for a quick session at the pier. The surf was small, crumbly and not very inviting, but he suited up and paddled out anyway.

“Jake was standing in the water up to his shoulders in just his trunks,” says Shon. “I asked him what he was doing and he said it was the only thing that helped his nerves calm down. After running into him I knew it all happened for a reason. I knew had to do something.”

Miller, who’s the founder of BeachConservation.com, rallied. Over the last week, he’s thrown together a fundraiser in San Clemente (at Hapa J’s on January 31). It’s a Taco Tuesday/birthday party for Jake with a silent auction featuring surfboards from …Lost, works from local artists, et. al. Proceeds from taco sales and the auction will go to help cover Jake’s myriad medical expenses. The family has also set up a fundraising site online (if you’d like you can help out here) and Miller has set up a fundraiser on his site at www.beachconservation.com.

“I’m figuring it out, but I have a long way to go with the therapy and rehab,” says Jake. “I can’t exercise because anything that puts stress on my core freaks out my nervous system. It affects my brain in some very serious ways. My short-term memory is shot. I can’t even read or watch TV because of how it affects the nerves in the back of my eyes. I have to keep myself distracted otherwise I’d go crazy.”

Jake’s happy to say he’s finally off the pain killers the doctors had prescribed him and is dealing with his ailment more holistically. Sticking to a strict diet, he’s cut sugars and carbs completely out of his diet, and also sees solutions like a hyperbaric chamber as possibilities. Still, he worries his muscles are just atrophying away because he can’t workout or surf without going to level “800” pain.

“One day at a time. Appreciate the small things. Be positive. Keep moving,” he says when asked how he copes.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to surf the way I used to, but big picture, I don’t know how much that matters,” he continues with beyond his years wisdom. “Like I said, I could be dead. I’ve got to make the most of whatever time I have.”

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

Carissa Moore And Finn McGill Are Your 2023 Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Champions 

They both pocket $50k and tickets to this year’s Vans Pipe Masters.

Jan 27, 2023

The Pick-Up, Presented By Vans, Episode 5

Mason Ho helps us ring in our final week on the North Shore.

Jan 27, 2023

Goofyfoot Brazilian World Champion Stars In Stab’s Biggest Board-Testing Franchise

Can you guess who?

Jan 26, 2023

Surf Community Rallies To Raise Funds For Eddie Winner And On-Duty Hawaiian Lifeguard Luke Shepardson

Because it's the right thing to do, of course.

Jan 26, 2023

Interview: Caity Simmers On Machete Wars, Rihanna, Personal Project Problems, And The Rise Of Female Surf Content. 

A toast to ‘Toasted.’

Jan 25, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: Creed McTaggart, Albee Layer, Laura Enever, Dane Guduaskas, and Selema Masekela

Day 8: "65 years young and charging just as hard as ever at Pipe, Backdoor,…

Jan 25, 2023

“I’m Not A Big Wave Guy”

How Kai Paula accidentally made his mark at Jaws three weeks after surfing it for…

Jan 24, 2023

Everyone Went.

A toes in the sand, phone in the lagoon account of the 10th Eddie Aikau…

Jan 24, 2023

Breaking: Another CT Rookie Injured Before First Event

Sophie McCulloch pulls out of Pipeline due to Snapper Rocks snafu.

Jan 23, 2023

23:26

Watch: ‘Toasted,’ By Caity Simmers

Your favorite surfer directs, edits, and stars in her first feature film. 

Jan 23, 2023

On-Duty North Shore Lifeguard Luke Shepardson Wins The Eddie Aikau

Local man prevails over 39 big-wave heavyweights at 29ft @ 19 seconds Waimea.

Jan 23, 2023

The Eddie Aikau Invitational Is On

Grab a beverage and enjoy surfing's Super Bowl Sunday

Jan 22, 2023

The Women’s CT Is About To See A Generational Shift 

Only three women have won a Title in the past 15 years. Here's why that's…

Jan 22, 2023

4:58

“One For Marcio” – Albee Layer’s Tribute To Mad Dog

Imagine treating 30ft Jaws like Backdoor.

Jan 22, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: Noa Deane, Jamie O’Brien, Parker Coffin, Cliff Kapono, and Brendan Buckley

Day 7: "It's like he feels more comfortable when it’s as gnarly as it gets."…

Jan 21, 2023

Five Reasons Why The Eddie Still Matters

With better waves around the world and likely no prize money, why is The Eddie…

Jan 20, 2023

35:26

The Pick-Up, Presented By Vans, Episode 4

The science behind morning sickness, Sunset sliding with Noa Deane, and bailing on a President…

Jan 20, 2023

Which 2023 CT Rookies Will Make The Mid-Year Cut?

Just 10 days out from the start of the 2023 season, Mikey C and Stace…

Jan 19, 2023
Advertisement