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Surfers tale of survival: “Instantly paralysed”

In 2008, Darren Longbottom was in his prime. He had a young daughter and a small business in the NSW Coastal town of Kiama. It all changed in an instant though after a freak surfing accident left him without the use of his legs.

Speaking with Clinton Maynard and Craig Willis on Weekend Afternoons following the release of his new book ‘Beyond the Break’, Longbottom described the moments his life changed while on a surfing trip off a chain of islands in western Sumatra, Indonesia.

“My board has come under me right at the last moment and I’ve gone head first, crashing through my board. Crushing and dislocating my neck. Instantly paralysed,” Longbottom said. “It was 22 hours before I could get any medical attention.”

When asked how his life is now, he is optimistic.

“As long as I can wake up in the morning, and I’ve got my daughter to keep me going. Just being out there in the community, talking surfing and watching surfing is what keeps me going.”

It’s been 10 years since the accident, and it is only now that Longbottom has felt up to writing his story.

“My daughter was only one at the time and I thought it would be really good to have my story down on paper for her, for when she is older… help her understand why her childhood might have been a bit different.”

But it isn’t only for her. “If it can help just one person to push through some barriers that are put in front of them… then it’s all good.”

‘Beyond the Break’ by Darren Longbottom and Tim Rushby-Smith is available in all good bookstores and online.

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview with Darren Longbottom.