Well-known surfer encourages students at ‘Speak Your Blues’ night

Well-known surfer encourages students at 'Speak Your Blues' night

Negin Daneshfar

Vice President of the Blues Project, Patricia Lopez, a senior psychology major, speaks about the importance of having resources available for students who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. Lopez's ultimate goal is to inspire students to speak about their personal conflicts. The Speak Your Blues event took place at the Games Room, USU, Thursday evening. Photo credit: Tiffany Randle / Contributor
Vice President of the Blues Project, Patricia Lopez, a senior psychology major, speaks about the importance of having resources available for students who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. Lopez’s ultimate goal is to inspire students to speak about their personal conflicts. The Speak Your Blues event took place at the Games Room, USU, Thursday evening. Photo credit: Tiffany Randle / Contributor

Jesse Billauer was surfing the waves on a typical day at Malibu Beach when he pulled out on a wave and another wave rushed in that forced him headfirst into shallow water and broke his neck.

“At that moment my whole life just stopped,” Billauer said. “I didn’t really know what to think. I wanted to be that professional surfer.”

After the accident Billauer woke up in the hospital not knowing where he was. He had broken the 6th vertebrae in his neck and was unable to walk.

Billauer was the guest speaker at Speak Your Blues, another event in support of  “Beat the Blues” week. He shared his life story and a documentary about his surfing and the accident was shown to attendees on Thursday evening in the USU Games Room.

The documentary introduced Billauer, a professional surfer sponsored by Hurley, and highlighted his passion for surfing and other sports. Billauer spoke of the life struggles he had encountered and the traumatic experiences he had to overcome.

“I feel like it is about making the right choices,” Billauer said. “All these decisions can change your life, and you have to think about each choice before you make it, because it could change the rest of your life.”

Speak Your Blues also featured live DJ music from Melvin Urias, music performances and poetry. Free snacks were available for students in between performances.

Serena Skinner, 18,  performed a poem about hope and the achievements made from personal improvements. Her poem also focused on how she coped with depression by moving forward and reaching out for help.

“Poetry is a way to release my emotion. My words on paper are just not the same as telling my poem,” Skinner said. “Now I see that poetry can touch someone else and is a way to express myself.”