Yesterday the ASP released their official 2014 Top 34 list and with it came the disappointing news for those who didn't win one of the two Injury Wildcards. Glenn "Micro" Hall was someone we all thought held a rather good case for receiving one of the wildcards (breaking his back during a WCT event and all that...) but was sadly denied, as the Wildcards were being given to Owen Wright and Tiago Pires.
The ASP have given Micro the first replacement position, the same position that almost saw Yadin Nicol qualify this year. So there's still hope!
Micro posted this blog on his website today titled "Perspective":
This has been a strange year of my life. It started as my first year as a surfer on the WCT. The dream tour.. A goal I had been trying to reach for roughly a decade. A decade of my wife giving up things in her life to support my dream. So to reach the goal and be able to live my dream was as big a deal for her as it was for me. She has seen almost every heat I've surfed for the last decade and been through every emotion with me, every result, win or lose. So this year started with one goal and that was to do well on the WT. Training hard, living well and making sacrifices. The first few events of the year left me without a result but with high spirits, as I took a lot of positives from each event. Results started to come with the primes and the WT event in Brazil. My year was starting to take shape when It all hit a dead end in the Volcom Pro Fiji. Round 2 against Jordy Smith I pulled in too deep and surfaced with 3 fractured vertebrae. Just like that, my year took a turn, the goal posts changed and my dream was put on hold. My new focus was to recover and get back on the Dream Tour ASAP. I accepted the challenge confidently with amazing support from my family, friends, rehab crew and sponsors.
My injury recovery taking longer than anticipated meant no more comps for the rest of 2013. Although long and frustrating at times, rehab for my injury has been the biggest learning curve ever. Learning new exercises and stretches, and an insight into how the body actually operates. Being such a serious injury I decided I needed to put all my effort into giving my back the best chance of a full recovery. After the first 3 months of resting I became mobile enough to start flying so I began weekly trips to the Gold Coast for rehab. Dr Chris Prosser is who I've trusted to guide me through my recovery. He's taught me so many things and one is to never call a Chiropractor a Physio. Apparently it's like calling a surfer a bodyboarder. The weekly flights to QLD, car hire and accommodation didn't come cheap but my decision was based on the thought 'there is no price cuts when it comes to mending a broken back'. A good friend Sean Mcgugan had a surfing injury years ago and ended up in a wheel chair for life. Before Sean's injury he surfed, fished, skied, paddled kayaks, rode bikes. He lived life as its meant to lived. Now he's in a wheelchair and he still does all those things and more. His positive 'live life' attitude is the most inspiring thing you will ever see. I'm not one to sit around and mope anyway, but when you put injuries into perspective, I'm damn fortunate. Although times have been financially tough due to buying our first house a week before my injury, I wasn't going to sacrifice my body to save money. My family supported this decision by making more sacrifices. Ive learnt your body needs to come first, cos you only get one!
Ive also learnt how much people care and who actually cares. From the day I did my back in Fiji I think I have been asked 'how's your back going' more times than Kelly has been asked when he's going to retire. Most people around my area ask every day, 'how's your back?' Some ask twice a day incase it has improved in the past few hours. To be honest it has been frustrating at times, but I know people only ask because they care. The support from family and friends, and the general public is unbelievable. Even the Serbian parking guy at the airport asks how my back is going every week. He actually keeps begging me to quit surfing because it's too dangerous. He genuinely cares. The upside of down is learning how much people really care.
Six months from the date of the accident and I'm sitting hear consoling my distraught wife. We have spent six months eagerly waiting to find out if my dream of being a WT surfer is over. It's been in the hands of the ASP to decide if I get the injury wildcard for 2014. The outcome is decided. My wife is sobbing, I didn't get it. We've just received an email saying 'you have not been given an injury wildcard for 2014 and will be the replacement for any injuries through the year'. It's hard news to swallow but I'm ok. Maybe it's shock. Along the way I've been positive. I felt like I had a strong case that fit the criteria. To see my wife so upset saying 'I'm just upset for you because it's your dream, and your dream is my dream', brought me to tears. Jemma has put as much effort into my career as I and this news is as heartbreaking for her as it is for me.
We sit here upset talking about how my dream of being a full time WT surfer is taken away for now, then our daughter Zara runs into the room completely oblivious to anything and starts dancing in the nude laughing at herself. I said to Jemma, that's what really matters. We have Zara, we have each other, we have our parents and our family. We are also lucky enough to be expecting another one of these funny little humans. On the scale of life, we have it bloody awesome. It is disappointing news but for me this isn't even close to the hardest thing I've dealt with this year. Watching one of my best mates deal with losing his dad was much harder for me emotionally. Seeing such a good friend so upset because he's lost his dad is much worse than finding out you can't surf a few heats. Perspective. Also having issues in my own family and seeing my Mum and Dad struggle to be happy isn't comparable to losing any dream to do with surfing. These are real problems and what really matter in life.
Jemma and I sit here while Zara dances to Beyonce's Single Ladies in the nude and we think ahead to the next chapter of our life. We now have a mortgage and 1.5 kids. Is it time to get a real job? Is the replacement WT position going to be enough to support the growing family and pay the bills? What job can I do with a busted back? We don't really come up with any answers for now but we agree that as long as the family are happy and healthy its all good! Ive learnt when you put things into perspective there is always someone worse off. Your realise what you should be thankful for. These are the things that are important. I might be surfing in some events next year or I might not. I might be lucky enough to surf Pipeline or I might not, but I do have a happy, healthy and supportive family so its all good. Thanks for the support
Australian Surfing Life.