Stab Magazine | Two Hip Surgeries Later, Albee Layer Is Back To (Almost) Spinning Double-Oops

Two Hip Surgeries Later, Albee Layer Is Back To (Almost) Spinning Double-Oops

Welcome back Johnjohnslater, er, livefastdieold…

Words by stab

Albee Layer was out of the water for several months this year, the result of a double-hip surgery that had been bothering the 28-year-old skate groupie for years.

Nearly three months after doctors chiseled away his dual hip nodules, Albee was back in the water, logging and twinning in the piss-weak waves of San Diego county.

A few weeks after that, Albee was riding his thruster back on Maui, looking a little heavy, sluggish, and out of balance, but nonetheless happy to set his fins free. 

Not two weeks later, a trim, agile-looking Albee was soaring through Maui’s ever-easterly breeze with confidence and flair, sticking all manner of punts and even, almost, his patented double-alleyoop. 

By the look of his most recent sessions, it’s clear that the Albee of old is back. And pardon the cliche, but he might actually be better than ever… I mean, when was the last time you saw somebody not named Italo pull that many airs in one session?

After watching the short film above, scroll down to read about the Hawaiian’s rehabilitative journey and plans for the future.


Plenty of this in Alfred’s future, to be sure. Photo: WSL

Stab: Can you briefly explain what was going on with your hips, and why you had to get double surgery?

Albee Layer: I had a tear in my labrum and large osteophytes on my femur. Basically these big bone calluses that weren’t allowing my hip to move around properly. It was causing me a lot of pain and I was losing flexibility to do almost any grab. 

After having a few docs look at them, it was kinda obvious the issue was only going to get worse until I got surgery, so I lasted as far into the winter as I could, then after pulling the muscles in my groin every other session for a few months (because they were guarding the injury) I decided to finally get the surgery over with.

I don’t have fake hips, by the way—a lot of people think that I have some plastic anchors in there. But it’s a reshaped bone, not a fake hip [laughs].

How long were you dealing with the pain before you got surgery? And was this surgery just to relieve the pain, or are you expecting to have extra mobility?

The pain started somewhere in the El Niño winter (2015/2016) then progressively started getting worse. The pain was tolerable but the bump on my femur got so big that I couldn’t move my leg properly which started messing a lot of other stuff up. I lost my ability to do a stalefish—not that I ever could that well—and my muscles surrounding the hip were so tight protecting it that every time I fell wrong I’d pull them pretty bad. Even if I was stretching and icing everything all the time.

How long has it been since surgery now, and how does your body feel, percentage-wise?
I got my first surgery on March 4th and the second surgery on April 8th. Right now, I feel probably 90-ish percent. 

Brutal. And obviously being out of the water makes it hard to stay in shape. What was the heaviest you got during your time out, and what are you at now?
Right before I started thinking about surgery I was like 210, but post-surgery I actually never got back over 200. I started doing physical therapy at this place called B Project right after surgery and they somehow never let me get weak. I’m like 195 now. 

Now that you’re back, what’s next for Albee?
I wanna make another movie. And I definitely want to be ready for Jaws for this winter. 

And what of the air comps?
Oh yeah, I’m doing Stab High and the Airborne in France for sure. Any air comps I’m 100% in. 


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