Recovering Surfer To Head Home Soon

As reported on
By Kristina Davis

SAN DIEGO – The stitches, burns and severe brain trauma will take time to heal, but Robert Schneider’s recovery is nothing short of miraculous considering the condition he was in five weeks ago, his parents said yesterday.

The 26-year-old Australian surfer was near death after being beaten unconscious and thrown into a fire pit. He suffered severe burns on his legs and lower body, a skull fracture, a crushed eye socket and broken hands.

After several surgeries and skin grafts, Schneider is days away from returning home to Adelaide, Australia.

“All he wants to do is go home and be with his mates,” said his mother, Judy Schneider.

With his parents at his side in front of UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, Robert Schneider expressed gratitude to the community for its support and prayers.

“Thank you, everyone. Thank you, San Diego,” he said.

Schneider, an electrician who had been traveling the world, was in San Diego Feb. 27 to buy a surfboard and planned to join friends in Mexico.

He was with a group of men drinking around a fire in Ocean Beach when two of the men beat him with a skateboard and threw him into the flames, police said.

Frank Montoya, 46, and Damian Maple, 21, both transients, were arrested Monday in Oregon and Idaho, respectively, and charged with torture, battery and assault with a deadly weapon. Both are awaiting extradition to San Diego.

“There are two bad people in San Diego and thousands who just poured their hearts out for us,” said Robert Schneider’s father, Peter Schneider.

Two strangers who heard of the attack have organized a fundraiser to help with Robert Schneider’s recovery. The event will be from 2 to 6 p.m. April 13 at Bondi Bar & Kitchen, 333 Fifth Ave. in San Diego.

At some point, when Schneider is completely healed, he plans to return to San Diego, his mother said.

“He told me, ‘This is just a little hiccup, Mom.”