On December 7th, 2001, almost 20 years ago, Joel Taylor, slammed the reef at Pipeline. The resulting injury left him paralysed from the waist down with a spinal cord injury.

Instead of letting that sad episode define his future, he founded Unite Clothing Company in 2003, arguably bodyboarding’s most successful clothing label, still going strong after 17 years.

After years of rehab and commitment, Joel back on the pathway to walking and eventually to riding waves again. 

The clip above is in fact his last “Sponsor Me Tape” from back in early 2001. Only a handful of friends and a couple of potential sponsors back in the day had ever seen it.

The tape was pieced together by the man himself, based on a do-it-yourself attitude, in a time before the High Definition cameras and readily available editing software. 

“The footage was shot on first generation digital camcorders; I edited it at a friends house with two VCR’s connected together, The clip is less than two minutes long, but I remember it taking forever to get it to look how I wanted. It was such a nightmare.”

The clip features mostly unseen footage of Joel filmed over six months on the East Coast of Australia, Western Australia and Hawaii from mid 2000 through to early 2001. Basically made up of home videos recorded by his friends as well as a few waves that ran on Chris Stroh’s old videos.

At the time, Joel Taylor was a rising star in Australia and never was too famous worldwide, like others did, but his story is amazing and worthly to be shared. xxx