Since, I was a baby I have loved the water. I grew up in Southern California where I taught myself how to surf when I was eleven-years-old and was instantly hooked. I started competing when I was fourteen which lead into my first sponsorships.
I had some success competing such as winning the ISF State Championship for Women Short Board and other various contests in California. I enjoyed competing but I loved free-surfing even more. Surfing made me a positive and happy person.
Lisa surfing in Hawaii.
When I was 19-years-old I moved to Hawaii for college and good waves. I had been surfing and living there for three years when one day, everything changed.
I was surfing at Off The Wall on Northshore and hit the back of my head on reef.
What I thought was a simple concussion at the time was actually a Traumatic Brain Injury and whole different beast settling in.
After meeting with several doctors, I received the uncomfortable information I did not want to hear. I was diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS), which is a blanket term for Traumatic Brain Injuries that don't show up on scans but symptoms can last for months, years or permanently, depending on the severity of the injury.
Since there is little known about PCS, doctors told me that I may never fully recover enough to return to college or ride my surfboard again.
The thought of this frightened me. I loved my active life style and could not imagine life any other way. However, after a year of bed rest and a lot of pain, I started to show signs of improvement.
Surfing played a large role in the success of my rehabilitation. In surfing, there are many times you fall or fail before you succeed. The real challenge is picking yourself back up to go at it again.
Keeping that same mentality during my recovery, is what has got me where I am today. When I felt like I was failing in my daily activities from the limitations of my injury, I was able to pick myself back up and try again because I love life and want it to be all that it can be for me.
It has taken many years, but I am now surfing and doing the other sports that I love again.