AVOCA, New South Wales/Australia (Monday, November 11, 2013) -There is little doubt that today's elite field of competitors push their abilities harder and in more dangerous fields of play than any other athletes on the planet. It's part of what makes this sport so exciting. Barrier-breaking and mind-blowing performances are potential for every heat...so are injuries. Glenn Hall (IRL), 32, is no stranger to hard work. A journeyman campaigner on the qualification series, the Australian (with new support from his Irish heritage) made it to "the show" in 2013. After an impressive start to the season, competing in both the elite ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) and qualification events, the goofy-footer's rookie season was cut short in Fiji.
Surfing against ASP World Title contender Jordy Smith (ZAF), 25, in solid eight foot (2.5 metre) waves at Restaurants during Round 2, Hall suffered a bad fall on the reef, resulting in three fractured vertebrae and a sidelining for the remainder of the year. Five months later, Hall is still rehabilitating at home in Australia and making progress. Unable to compete in the upcoming Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, Hall will not requalify for the elite ASP WCT in 2014 and will have to apply for one of two ASP wildcards if he is to remain amongst the world's best. This...is his story...
"I'm back in the water which is the best feeling ever. I'm obviously not going straight out and surfing 100 percent, I'm just easing into it. I'm just surfing every second day or so and having shorter surfs to prevent pushing it. I still get sore after too much training or surfing but it's as expected after such an injury. So, for me, that hardest part is to pace myself. It's mentally tough trying not to go too hard in the gym or in the surf. But I know its what I have to do.
"I'm feeling good though and definitely improving. I have to build my strength, cardio fitness as well as my surfing so it's a slow process to get them all to where I want them to be. I've found a good balance now of surfing and training to increase strength, flexibility and fitness, so I'm positive I will get back to where I was or even better, but it might take another month or two. Rehab has been a big learning curve in the way your body operates, heals and reacts to injuries. The first few months were really boring and a bit frustrating, but once I was given some exercises and stretches, it felt like I was on the mend and at least had some kind of control on my recovery. Sitting around waiting to heal was the hard part mentally.
"But it's all good - I'm in the water now and have found that balance and feel like its all coming together and I will recover 100%.
"As far as returning to competition, I can't wait! I feel like I was surfing good at the start of the year. I had a few decent results on the prime series and a 9th in the Brazil WCT event. I was sitting in a good position on both ratings and, at the time of injury, a good chance of requalifying through the WCT and/or the Qualifying ankings. I was doing both tours to give myself the best chance of requalification so everything was going well.
"I had lost a few really close heats in the first couple of events too. I had some decent scores in those heats so I was feeling confident for the rest of the year. I definitely felt like I deserved to be there which is driving me to get back to 100%. It's clear now that won't finish high enough on the ratings to qualify so I will be applying for the injury wildcard. I feel like I have a really strong case and deserve a wildcard so I will be training hard to be fit and ready for the first event in 2014.
"Watching all the events from home has been fuel to the fire. I have been taking notes on little things I've picked up on different locations or heat strategies.
"I'm definitely not going to whinge and moan about being injured, it's part of the sport we are in and injuries come with it. The waves on the tour are dangerous and being run in heavier conditions these days. Everyone is pushing themselves harder both in big waves and with progressive moves so injuries are more likely than ever before. I think that's where the professionalism of the surfers with their preparation is becoming more and more valuable.
"My injury is obviously more serious than the normal surfing injury, but I can still walk and will make a complete recovery so I am thankful for that."
Looking forward to next season."