Sterling Spencer Is Recovering From Multiple Traumatic Head Injuries
“My family thought I was crazy. They took me to the doctors, they said I was depressed.”
Gulf Coast Floridian freesurfer, comedy creator, and the only real threat to Kelly Slater’s title of the “Number 1 surfer in the world“, Sterling Spencer, has had a rough go of things.
His father, universally beloved east coast surfing icon Yancy Spencer, died in 2011, leading Sterling to well-documented bouts of depression. He turned to meditation and eventually made Join the Dance, an introspective and largely existential film that he hoped would provide peace of mind for both himself and viewers.
“When I started feeling depression and all that stuff, I realized that my programming wasn’t working anymore, so I basically had to figure out something new,” Sterling told Surfer Magazine. “I tried to use this [film] to express everything I felt and everything I was going through in a visual artform.”
Since the film was released in 2019, we’ve seen (and heard) very little from Sterling. That is until this past week, when he emerged in IG stories wearing strange head gear in the doctor’s office.
At first, Sterling was vague in his explanations, saying only that he couldn’t be on his phone for more than a few hours a day, and that he would explain more later. Then, yesterday, over the course of several face-to-camera IG stories, he gave a brief explanation of where he’s been and what’s been ailing him.
We asked Sterling if we could share his story on our website.
“That would be awesome, thank you.”
Below is the transcript from his IG stories.
“Hey friends, thanks to everyone for sending me messages of support.
“Everyone keeps asking me what happened. About a year and a half ago, I got hit in the head with my surfboard fin. Six months later I completely lost my mind, and I was walking the streets at night.
“My family thought I was crazy. They took me to the doctors, they said I was depressed. I finally found out I had a traumatic brain injury from that incident. So then I got on a good program, then I got really sick, probably Covid, and I couldn’t get out of bed for probably three months. It was terrible.
“Then I slowly started getting better again. I was walking up hills three times a day. Then I got into a car accident. I got hit by a drunk driver while sitting at a red light. They were going 40 miles an hour, and [the accident] totally reinjured my brain worse.
“For three months I couldn’t walk—wheelchair [only]. Now I’m seeing a neurologist, specialist, and that’s what you’re seeing. Hopefully I’ll be surfing soon.”
We reached out to Sterling to see if he was willing and/or able to chat further on the subject.
“I am not well enough yet to do an interview, but I will let you know when I am.”
He followed, unprompted, with a classic dose of Sterling humor.
“All those years of making fun of Kelly finally caught up to me [laughing emoji]”.
Dissecting the Heat (and Wave) that Blew Out John’s Knee
"It felt like he held back a little bit on that one" - Ronnie Blakey
Here’s How The Greatest Surfer Of All Time Can Become An Olympian This Year
Head Coach of the USA Olympic Surf Team, Brett Simpson, breaks it down.
John Florence Is on His Way Home from West Oz with an Injured Knee
What does this mean for the World Title Race? And the Olympics?
A 19-Year-Old Kiwi We’re Adding To The List
Caleb Cutmore joins catalog of talented underground surfers.
An Idea That Could Improve The Waves—And The Crowd Situation—At Malibu
Why aren't we working with nature to design better waves?
Now… This: Challenging Dylan Graves To A Fist Fight
The weird wave enthusiast answers with a yellow belt in taekwando.
Surprise, The Comp Is On!
Gabby melts and Steph hits top form as the draw whittles down to the final…
The 2021 Stab Rich List, Part 1
Welcome to the most wild year of pro surfing contracts on record.
‘Wilson’s Foam and Rubber’ Documents Chippa’s Saline/Petroleum Love Affair
Shot entirely on GoPro HERO9 Black.
Dylan Graves’ Weird Waves Shines A Light On The World Of Night Surfing
Season 3, here we go.
Introducing John John’s Pick for the World’s Best Junior
Luke Swanson is not a soccer player.
Cognitive Awareness During A Strong Pulse In Brazil
Yago Dora, Miguel Pupo, and more star in 'Symbolic Amplification'.
The Australian Government Is Now Funding Surf Trips
Inside the program designed to return the nation to its former competitive glory.
Margaret River Main Break Re-asserts itself as a Valid CT Stop
"These are the kinds of days we live for." - Jeremy Flores