Here is a recent surfing incident that happened to me.
It is my tale of revelation in the ocean and it all started about 4 years ago when I got diabetes (juvenile at 32, I ask you!) and I got fit, like very fit to combat the long term effects of the condition.
I had always surfed but surfing is something that you are usually on or off. I mean if you are really ON it , which you really have to be, you check it all the time to make sure you dont miss a good swell which can be quite rare from year to year. So I'm fit and I'm on it again, mainly because I AM fit, with all the running and swimming and stuff.
So Adam (an old surfing friend) and I are doing early morning runs and getting into it pretty
heavily and we have two years of good luck with swells and a couple of
big days which were challenging with a big C. BUT and heres the grate,
I had been surfing for about 23 years and the fear of big surf was still
haunting me, I remember a big day about a year and a half ago with Adam
and a couple of other surfs with Cam (another of my few remaining friends who surf) when my mind is just telling me to,
"paddle in,... paddle in".
Today (May 5 2000) is the tail end of a big swell that hit the Gold Coast
and Adam comes down for a not-so-early and we hit it out front of my street
and end up going out in front of my old stamping ground Northcliffe Surf
So we paddle out with a bit of trepidation but not much. The shore break
was out of control and it was a difficult paddle out with a fairly consistent
middle break so it was a ten to fifteen minute paddle out.
Big Mistake...so here it comes...the mother of all sneaker sets and I
am out of position to try to scratch my way over it, and like I said HERE
IT COMES! So Adam who is quite a ways further out JUST makes it over the
top with a duck dive about half way up the face and as I look at it advancing
upon me I am sure it the biggest wall of water I have ever faced in my
surfing life. I continue to paddle towards it as it begins to break and
by the time it breaks fully it is right there in front of me.
Here comes the revelation part, so I'm waiting, first for the wave to take
the board and also for how hard the impact is going to be and I wasnt
disappointed. The wave took the board and dragged me straight into the
white water where I got pounded. I got tossed for a while, full washing
machine, and I felt my legrope go out to full extension and the board
being tossed wildly and as always in these situations you start thinking
about when you going to be allowed to surface...you usually wait a little
while for the main drilling to subside and my technique is to feel down
my leg to the leg piece and then follow the legrope up to the board and
that is what I did. I was thinking about air and how much I had and also
if there was going to be another wave in the set (there wasnt).
So there it is, I have omitted any size references because the surfing
world has scaled down its wave size estimates to a current state whereby the sizes of 5-10-20
years ago (like 4,6,8,10ft and above) no longer have meaning. (It all began with the
first Australian surfers going to Hawaii and coming back with "Hawaiian measure")
(further note:) When I got out the back again Adam asked "How was that" and I replied "pretty f@#*n heavy".
My Apologies if you are here investigating the connection between Manoa Drollet and Dag Drollet.
I mistakenly read that they were related but I don't think that is true.
I can't find a positive confirmation of the fact that they are related.
The story below courtesy of surfermag.com
The story begins...
For a number of years now, many of us have wondered--with guarded concern--when someone would be seriously injured at the seemingly unrideable left-hander off of the main island of Tahiti known as Teahupo'o. Earlier this month, those concerns became reality. Photographer Darren Crawford was accompanied by an all Hawaiian and Tahitian crew for a pre Gotcha Pro sojourn, when local surfer Briece Taerea--a friend of Tahitian pro Manoa Drollett--was tossed unmercifully onto the reef and killed by a twelve foot set that caught everyone in the lineup off guard.
The trip started off a bit rough when Liam McNamara, Mark Healy, and Danny Fuller were confined to tent living by a three-day rain and lightening storm. But after the drenching, the Tahitian sun came out, and the surf steadily increased in size for the next three days until that fateful day when it reached 6-10 feet plus with 12 foot sets.
The waves were perfect for this crew of Pipe chargers, and they were picking off perfect 6-10 foot Teahupo'o lefts while, for the most part, they were able to dodge the unmakeable 12-foot beasts. But one particular monster set came through that no amount of scratching and duck diving could out run. Garrett McNamara caught the first wave of the set and got pounded. As is the case with most reef passes, he was forced to do the circuit and take his beatings until he was pushed back into the channel. He was so far out of the line-up that he decided to paddle to the boat and watch his brother and friends catch the remainder of the set. Liam paddled for the next one but missed it, only to turn around and see a 12 footer mounting on the shelf. Liam was way to deep to get over it, as was Hank Mills, and they were forced to bail. Manoa was able to duck dive the wave and he made it up just in time to see his buddy Taerea, also trying to duck dive, getting sucked back over the falls, upside down with one foot sticking out of the barrel.
After the set had passed, Garrett stood up in the boat to check and make sure everyone made it to the surface. He put his leash on in case anyone needed immediate attention. As he looked he counted heads and looked for boards. He thought everyone was in the clear when he saw Manoa swiftly paddling for a lone board that was drifting in the channel. Having taken part in the rescue of two near drownings before, Garrett paddled over to see if he could help. Just as he got there, Manoa pulled up the body of Taerea, and he was so horrified by what he had found that out of shock he let go of Taerea's broken body and turned away. Garrett was able to get Taerea in a lifeguard hold and with the help of the other surfers, got Taerea's lifeless body to the boat. Once on the boat, they attempted CPR, and were successful.
Taerea, who had major lacerations to his forehead, skull, and one major gash that went from just above the cleft of his chin to the top of his sternum, coughed up salt water and resumed breathing while the boat motored for shore. On shore, they called the paramedics and put Taerea in Manoa's sister's car. Not long after they began driving, the paramedics intercepted them and took over shuttling Taerea to the hospital. Unfortunately, by the time the ambulance arrived at the hospital, Taerea had gone into a coma from which he would never return. He had two broken neck bones, a broken spine, he was paralyzed from the neck down, and he had three good sized holes in his forehead. Taerea, who would have most likely had brain damage and would have been confined to a wheel chair, died later that day in the hospital.
Manoa and others who know
the reef well, suggest that he went over the falls backwards, landed
on his head, breaking his neck and back, and then hooked his chin
on a notorious clump of rocks that ripped his throat open. Taerea
was slated to surf in the trials of the Gotcha Pro, and as the competitors
begin to arrive, there is an odd unwillingness to go into great detail
about the mishap. Given the intensity of the surf spot, a lot of people
were wondering when something like this would happen at Teahupo'o,
and unfortunately it has.