Jake Davis has endured more pain than any of us could ever fathom. Thanksgiving day 2016, the 20 year old was surfing Backdoor when an awkward fall put him head first into the reef and bent his neck sideways. The trauma was tremendous. Resulting in pain that Davis never thought possible.
“I should of been paralyzed. I should of died right then and there.”
After months of doctors struggling to find the source of Jake’s pain, he found a doctor who knew what was wrong with him. Davis was diagnosed with Spinal Arteriovenous Malformation — a rare condition that causes an abnormal tangle of blood vessels on the spinal cord. “It feels like your being electrocuted.”
Jake underwent extensive surgery, a procedure the surgeon had only performed 30 times prior. A year later, he’s still in too much pain to even think about surfing. He considers himself very fortunate to be alive..
We called Jake to wish him well and see how we could help the talented phenom get back in the ocean where he belongs. –Jake Tellkamp
What Youth: Hey Jake, how are you feeling man?
Jake Davis: I’m exhausted. I’ve been stabbed with needles all day.
Where are you getting treatment?
I’m seeing an AVM specialist at Cedars-Sinai medical center in Beverly Hills.
How have you been coping with all of this?
As much pain as I’m in, I’m just fortunate to be alive and have family, friends and a girlfriend to support me through this. The last year has been a nightmare but if I could go back and have it not happen to me, I wouldn’t change it. I’ve learned so much about life, what’s truly important, and have grown closer to my family through all of this. All the goals that I set for my life, I wouldn’t achieve if I didn’t go through the last year. I have hope that I’ll come out the other side stronger and more appreciative of the life I’ve been given.
That’s powerful, Jake. How’s the support been from the surfing community? I saw Kelly Slater shared your fundraiser.
That’s what as been getting me through this to be honest. People call me everyday and check up on me to see how I’m feeling. When Kelly and I spoke, he was kind of tripping because at 20 years old, he had just won his first world title and here I am, at the same age, hoping just to be able to surf again some day.
I have a feeling you will. How rad would it be if your first wave back was on Kelly’s wave pool?
Hahah that’d be amazing!
Maybe he’ll read this and make it happen for you.
Honestly man, either way. If I get to surf again that’d be great, but it’s the last thing I’m worried about at the moment. I’ve learned so much about health through all of this and now, my goal is to open a medical clinic where people can get treatment that works.
That’s a rad perspective to have. How’s the fundraiser going?
We’ve raised a bit but you know how hospital bills are. I just spent three days getting tests done and that’s about 15 thousand dollars so obviously every t-shirt sale helps. Thankfully with the donations I’ve received, I’ll be able to get a machine that will help with blood flow and breaking down lactic acid so I can heal faster.
Great news! What advice would you tell people going through injuries?
Everyone in life is going to have their hardships and their struggles but as long as you’re still alive, you’ve got to keep fighting and never lose hope. I’ve been a reminder to my friends of how blessed we are to have surfing and how quickly it can be taken away from you. When that day comes where you don’t have surfing as an escape, you learn what really matters and that’s the relationships with loved ones.