Jesse Billauer the Quadriplegic Surfer Phenom
If you don’t already know who Jesse Billauer is let’s take a minute to introduce you to the young quadriplegic surfer who has become a symbol of strength and overcoming adversity. Jesse was born February 24, 1979 in Culver City, California. As Jesse was growing up he showed innate athletic ability in several different sports including baseball and soccer. Where Jesse really shined was in the ocean surfing. He began surfing at age 9 and by 11 was surfing competitively. He loved the ocean so much so that he took a job as a deckhand on a charter boat, a dirty job but one he loved very much. Later, at the age of 16, he became a part of the California Lifeguard Team.
Jesse’s notoriety as an excellent surfer only continued to grow and Surfer Magazine listed Jesse as 1 of the Top 100 up-and-coming surfers in the world. He has competed in Hawaii, Tahiti, Indonesia, Mexico and Costa Rica and in 1996 took #1 in juniors at the Pacific Surf Series. He had a mishap in 1995 that nearly prevented that from happening when the car he was in was involved in an accident and Jesse was thrown from the window. After several months of recovery he was back on the surfboard.
After the Pacific Surf Series it seemed that Jesse’s fortunes were to take a downturn. On March 25, 1996, while out surfing with friends Jesse got caught in a wave that shoved him head down on a sandbar. He was rushed to the hospital where it was found that he had a severe spinal cord injury and he was told he had become a quadriplegic. If you think this was enough to hold him down you would be wrong. After a few years Jesse founded Life Rolls On, a non-profit organization raising money for spinal cord injury research that is affiliated with the Christopher Reeve Foundation. Jesse attended San Diego State University in 2002 and graduated with a degree in communication. He is now a motivational speaker and tours the country raising money for his foundation.
To this day Jesse continues to surf on a special board, even after breaking his femur while surfing at North Shore in Oahu. It seems like nothing can hold him down. Everywhere he goes he is adored, especially by the girls! His brother Josh has been his constant care giver and companion as well as surfing buddy. Jesse’s life serves as a great reminder that anyone can overcome adversity and you should live life to the fullest!