Mick Fanning and Taylor Knox find inspiration in quadriplegic surfer

Just over 15 years ago Barney Miller, then a 20-year-old promising surfer from the mid-north coast of New South Wales, Australia, suffered a life changing motor vehicle accident. He was airlifted to a Sydney hospital and pronounced DOA, but survived and awoke to the news that he was a quadriplegic.

Since the accident, Miller has set about disproving the limitations that various doctors said would be a permanent part of life. "The damage affected my breathing and initially I was on a ventilator and was told I'd be on that for the rest of my life," says Barney. "And I was like, 'F#*k that, I'm not going everywhere with a machine,' and I told them to take it out. The first time I lasted five seconds and freaked out. Two months later I lasted two weeks and I haven't used one since."

In addition to learning how to walk again unaided, Miller hopes to one day surf again unassisted, and eventually dance with his fiancée, singer/songwriter Kate Southwell, at their wedding in 2015.

Mick Fanning, Taylor Knox, and other big surfers find inspiration in Barney Miller, who is seen here with his fiancee, Kate Southwell.
Mick Fanning, Taylor Knox, and other big surfers find inspiration in Barney Miller, who is seen here with his fiancée, Kate Southwell.

A film documenting his efforts called “No Means Go” is also being made. And while that film is not scheduled to be released until after his wedding, Barney has started dropping webisode clips of his inspirational quest. The first one, shown above, features surfing superstars such as two-time world champion Mick Fanning, American legend Taylor Knox, and famous big-wave rider Mark Mathews talking about the courage Barney has shown.

"What he has achieved puts all our achievements in perspective," Mathews told GrindTV. "We talk about courage and overcoming our fears in riding big waves, but I really believe Barney shows more commitment, dedication, and bravery every single day he tries to walk."

To put that in perspective check out one of Mark’s wipeouts here.

"'No Means Go’ is a pretty spot-on title for Barney," Mick Fanning told GrindTV from Hawaii, where he will be trying to edge out Kelly Slater and win his third world title at the Billabong Pipe Masters next month. "And it’s funny ’cause I have taken him surfing over here in Hawaii, and sometimes a wave will come and he will be like, ‘No, no,’ and I'm like, ‘You are going, Barnes; it’s go,’ and just push him. But in all seriousness, it’s also a sign of his courage and his determination. And I know he works way harder than I ever have. I find him inspirational.”

For the official trailer of the documentary, click play below.

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