Apr 19 2008

Misery loves company: injury stories

Published by at 11:54 am under Surf culture

What is the most legendary surf injury you or one of your close mates has ever copped?

Here’s one of my favourites…

Way back in the early 70’s, a mate of mine from New Zealand made his first ever overseas surf trip. California’s not the most exotic destination, but like surfers around the world, he could reel off all the famous names… The Ranch, Huntington Pier, the ‘bu, Blacks, Trestles, the Lane and above all, Rincon.

So here’s the picture: it’s a perfect winter’s day in Southern California. Clear blue skies, mild temps, no wind and flawless head high NW swell wrapping into the Queen of the Coast. My mate Tom and a couple of my friends pull up at the parking lot and through the trees they can see it is going off. The Kiwi is beside himself with excitement. He’s fairly hopping around as he pulls on the wettie and in his distracted state, doesn’t notice the kerbing.

A moment later he’s on the ground, holding his arm and grimacing with pain. It’s bad, but he thinks it might still be do-able. So, carrying his board under the good arm, he and my pals make their way down to the point. His dream of surfing one of the world’s great waves on a very, very good day is about to come true.

But, by the time they’re standing in the treacherous rock field that is Rincon at low tide, Tom’s arm is really, really hurting. With those perfect waves reeling down the point, they have to turn back and it’s off to the hospital.

The arm is broken and he’s going to spend the rest of his trip with a sling around his neck.

Pretty ordinary eh?

My situation isn’t quite as spectacularly awful (I hope!), but it’s still a contender. On Thursday morning, after surfing the point at Dee Why, I was paddling in and was maybe 50 metres off the beach. Weirdly, I was trying to be careful and looking to prone in on a little one. I’d just turned around to look over my shoulder when I realised a waist high wave was almost on me, so I sort of came off the board and gave it a little shove away. Suddenly I was being pitched and an instant later was slammed into sand that felt like concrete. I saw stars and when I came up, realised that I had been in knee deep water. I took the main impact on my shoulder.

It’s still too early to say how long I’ll be sidelined, but I’m guessing we’re talking weeks – at least. Aside from having to miss my absolute favourite time of year for waves, I also managed to prang myself the day after my mate Guy arrived from the states for our 15th biannual surfari. Looks as though I’ll be the photographer. Gloom.

When I mentioned my wounding in yesterday’s report, a kind fellow-sufferer emailed to commiserate and share his own wretched experience. He did a foot in tiny mushburger conditions. Of course he’s immobilised and the killer is that he’s messed himself up the week before he’s due to head out to the Maldives!!!

Yesterday evening, the Goat, my pal Guy and I caught up for dinner and naturally enough the topic of injuries came up. We all had stories of varying degrees of awfulness and I think it’s fair to say we took a sort of grim pleasure in the retailing of injuries past and present.

All of this set me thinking.

I reckon there are some amazing stories out there that just want to be told.

So, here’s a simple challenge for you.

Sit down and write me an email about your own tale of woe – or if you’ve been lucky, about the worst pranging that’s happened to a friend.

I will then compile these and publish them on RealSurf for the amusement and consolation of all.

Copy and paste the following into the top of your story and then fill in the details

Who: (first names or nicknames are fine)
When:
Where: (surf break name)
Surf conditions: (eg, overhead and breaking hard, gutless and knee high, etc)

Your story goes here.

And here’s the email address to send your stories to:

[email protected]

Assuming I get any responses, I will publish whatever I’ve received as of noon Friday 25 April 2008. If stories keep coming in after that, well, I’ll publish them on dates to be announced!

-Don

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