Sets Coming! -The Nate Lytle Story
Words and photos by Jon Steele
Nate Lytle with the with a framed wave of the season at Bob Hall Pier, Texas. Nate was never thought to live through the night much less get the wave of the year.
(All surf photos Bob Hall Pier) Insert photo: GScott
"Today is my buddy Nate Lytle's birthday." types a teary eyed Seabass on a post labeled "PFN" on a Texas Surfing Bulletin Board. The El Ride Texas Surf bulletin board tells the story, "A few short years ago he was in a coma, a huge hole in his head, a totally shattered arm and on the brink of death. Today he is alive and well, one year older and a testament to prayer, faith, love and friendship." he types. Nathan Lytle had his first surf contest the day prior, June 4th 2007, to an email going up on the bulletin board which seemed to have set his purpose in life in full motion whether he knew it or not. "Nate has fallen and needed some prayers. He was hurt bad and the genuinely good kid could use all the ammunition he could get for the battle he was about to embark on." it read. The young surfer fell into a coma for six weeks and he wasn't even supposed to make it out of the emergency room that day, much less write and publish a book that has sold over 1000 copies to date about his fight for life and freedom.
If anything hadn't gone the way it did that fateful day the ER head trauma Doctor randomly being on call to the the ambulance ride to thirty random acts that must have happened, this book might not have ever been written." I might not be surfing here today! " say Lytle. Nathan has positive energy one can feel around him when close. A soft spoken relaxed individual, Lytle's sense of wave finding is better than any quail dog in South Texas.
Nate sits and waits, "I don't want to hassle anyone or disrespect the 'good' surfers he says." He waits and usually get s tons of good waves and more often the wave of the day. Having lost quite a bit of mobility in his wrist due to shattering it and having it rebuilt , it makes it difficult to paddle and push himself up. Nate reflects and just appreciates being out in the lineup again. 42 days after doctors said it was a non-survivable event, Nate was up and going! The Skull fracture and fragments that went into his brain put him in hospitals and rehab for years to come. Nate with the help of Co writer James H. Pence wrote a book about his trials and tribulation. "More God"
"Paddle hard Nate.. Sets coming!" the El Ride Surf Forum would awaken every morning. A thread was dedicated to Nate Lytle, PFN (Pray For Nate) or how it would come to be told, the tale of a young surfer who just suffered from a fall off a ladder and into a coma, life was not over. There was something better awaiting out the back, a better wave, a better life and heavenly reason for the hell he was battling now. Stories and reports and photos flooded the BB thread after the accident. The pages saved ended up being a 568 page book that Lytle might not directly have seen while in his coma but every night his mother would sit by his hospital bed and read to him. These were stories and letters his fellow surfers and strangers would write to him daily. It became a place to learn about humility, a place to pray, to see the true compassion of other surfers and to help interact in someone's life who was in fact fighting for his own. With thanks and praises, thoughts and prayers, reflections on ones life or just "come on buddy!!!" inspiration for Nate to make progress on his long journey ahead of him it was bumped to the top of the board hourly. Chalk full of progress reports, praying, fundraising and coming together to help a fallen surfer to take care of the astronomiical bills he acquired during his recovery.
After being awarded The Texas State Survivor of the Year 2011 (144,000 Texans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year, one every 4 minutes), Nathan, no longer apologizes for his slow speech or repeating himself during conversations or the very rare stutter now. He articulates well and his coversations have changed from giving doctors his hourly health updates to motivational speeches with standing room only throughout Texas, the U.S. and Canada. He has lectured at churches, hospitals, rehab hospitals including both where he was a prior patient.Schools, personal benefits and countless other organizations all await to hear what light the miracle boy can help shed on their lives.
Nathan's book is intense and eye opening. He speaks of the ride in the truck to the ER and the horrific things to follow in detail. "Most people don't remember a traumatic accident or any of the recovery during the process" says his doctors. "Nathan remembers it all."
He recalls the ttwilight zoneish feeling straight out of a re-occuring horror movie of how he can't get out of the hospital or his fears of being trapped.. His book is a tear jerking struggle of the past 7 years to come back from what was thought to be unobtainable and surf!
This is a book about living ,a get inspired, get involved and give thanks and praise , hug your friends and family type of book. A journey none of us can truly know how difficult or painful it is and how hard Nate and his family fought for life. Nathan Lytle is one of the most charished, watched, and surf stoked on the Texas Riviera because Nate isn't supposed to be alive...
Movie link: http://natelytle.com/media/videos