Monday, April 10, 2006

The Nose Is Mightier Than the Board

It seems unlikely that the face, with all its fleshiness and fragility, can actually be stronger than a six-foot plastic plank, but on Sunday my nose proved that it is more resiliant that the nose of my surfboard. Suffice to say, Sunday was an eventful session, filled with great turns on open faces in the spring sunshine, the lowlight of which was a ride that came three hours into the day when I wiped out on a benign inside reform, falling headfirst onto my upwardly mobile McCoy. I know what you're going to say. My nose looks worse than the board's in the picture. Well, I can assure you that while my broke beak is on the mend today, the surfboard still needs a few patches.

With the complete, unabridged, photojournalistic version of the story still to come, I must pose this question to my surfing friends out there:

What's your worst surf-related battle wound?

Animal Collective "Flesh Canoe"


Patch said...

This one particular morning started out great, there was a hefty head high ground swell and I was already on it for a couple hours. I took off on a wave that looked like all the other waves I was on. I was up and working the face, I pulled a big bottom turn and was setting up for a little lip smack, my back foot slipped and I dug the rail in, the whole board tombstoned and then shot straight up and nailed me in the "no mans land" you know, in the "taint" and narrowly missing "the boys". Luckily I was surfing an egg with a rounded nose.

The thought of the pain still makes my eyes water.

Music—Deerhoof—Twin Killers

foul pete said...

I over extended a backhand 'off the lip' once and somehow ended up going over the falls with my back on top of a fin. My fin ripped through my wettie and left a mad looking bruise right by my kidney area. It didn't pierce the skin but it was close. Brand new wettie also.

Another time I was surfing a day with crazy offshore winds and my board blew into my face and smacked me in the eye. Everything was fine until I left the ice cold water and my eye swelled shut for two days.

Chum said...

Patch - great song choice. I have talked to two people who have been nailed in the nads and had one swell up to the size of a grapefruit. Good thing your twins dodged the nose.

Pete - your eye story actually sounds a little like the way I woke up yesterday. My wife said I looked like a China man.

TedZSurfer said...

ouch, you guys have me knocking on wood. I have not had anything that bad yet. This morning I wiped out and thought I was going to land on my 10.5 noserider fin but I dodged it and smacked it with my elbow. I once read an article by Doc Renneker who recommended surfers wear a cup like other athletes. I've never noticed anyone using one (no, I don't peek at the bros who are changing!) and figure it would be uncomfortable. Plus people would look at your wetsuit and say: "that dude is either hung or trying to be a ballet dancer!"

Doc said...

I was riding an inside barrel that closed was shallow and I stood up, but my board was nowhere to be seen...out of the corner of my eye I saw some movement, and my board which had been pinned by the wave came launching, pointy nose first, toward my face...I turned away and it caught me full force under my jawline. Skin didn't break, but I swelled up hugely, like the Elephant Man...never went to the Dr...stupid, I guess.

Other than that, the instantaneous moment where your board flips sideways on the face of a wave and comes up between your legs in a painful and potentially harmfaul manner has happened to me a couple times.

I also saw a guys fin cut through his nutsac once...that...was not good.


Mitch said...

Ouch, that nose looks painful... for me, my worst wipeout came in Costa Rica...

I remained injury free for an entire week until my last day in Costa Rica. I was having a really great day on the water catching great waves regularly, having nice long and excellent rides each and everytime. These weren't small waves either.

Then, I got nailed. Imagine, if you will, a wave the size of a freight train coming towards me - and I'm faced with a simple choice. Do I paddle for the wave, and ride the largest wave I've ever ridden by about 3 feet? The wave was about 8-10 feet high.

Do I let this wave pass because it's so large? I'm not one to shy away from a challenge, and knowing that I can swim very well, I decide to go for it...

I paddle hard for the increasingly large and seemingly ginormous wave, and by virtue of my patience on the water, end up in the perfect position to catch an absolutely monstrous wave.

I get that ride I've been seeking all week - the one you can talk about forever - the ride that takes on the mythical proportions of that greatest wave (so far) - the ride that sets the standard for all future rides - and the ride that defines a surfer.

That is, until the end of the I'm about to step off the wave and my ride is coming to an end, I lose an edge, get sucked into the falls, and my surfboard with the power of the ocean behind it solidly collides with my chest with a dull thunk. I feel the blunt trauma, and it takes my breath away.

I struggle to keep my wits about me as I'm pitched into the pit of the wave backwards and thrown around like a rag doll in the wave. I surface after only a few seconds, despite it feeling like it was much longer, and decide that I need a break. After paddling to the beach, I realize in how much pain I'm actually in and decide that I'm not going to push my luck and will call it a week.

The prognosis - a cracked rib, though fortuneately nothing more serious. But it was worth the wipeout for the ride. That's how I KNOW that I'm a surfer...

btw, GREAT blog.

Chum said...

While reading Mitches entry, I got that sick feeling in my stomach because of the anticipation of finding out how bad the injury was going to be. That's what makes surf wounds so traumatic: you feel the initial force of impact (or laceration) and then you have to actually wait to see how bad you fucked yourself up until you get out of "the shit." You really don't want to look, but eventually have a chance... or in my case, you can see the reation on other surfers' faces when they see all the blood.

Doc, the nutsac story? Not. Good. At least there was a doc in the house.

Whiffleboy said...

In a massive display of uncoordinated kookiness while trying to reposition myself in a sitting postion on my funboard a few years back, I hear a loud *pop* resonate through the 8ft of foam. This is immediately followed by excrutiating pain in my right knee.

My ACL had snapped.

Luckily, the wetsuit did a nice job of keeping the swelling down while I gimped back to the truck. However, it bitchslapped me while I was trying to weasle out of the thing. Ouch.

Chum said...

Whiff, back in my Chum v1.0 days (the '80s), I went over the falls sitting on my board in Santa Monica of all places. I take a fin to the ankle (in those foul waters ;) and refuse to go to doctor to stitch up the puncture wound. Still have a nice scar! My ego took longer to heal.

dave rich said...

I have numerous scars on my feet from my fins. I seem to get very excited when I paddle for a wave and in the process of laying down and swinging my feet up, I clip them alot. My biggest injury despite jetty jumping and smashing my chin into the deck, was when I too was in Costa Rica. I dont even know how this happened but upon takeoff for a waist+ wave my front foot slipped right off the deck. I felt a horrible pain in my shin, and from all those years of bmx riding I knew it was a bad one. I checked out my shin and a massive piece of flesh is gone but not stichable. It was just too damn wide. I check my board on the beach, and I have somehow managed to delam the rail! Upon further inspection I see little pieces of skin and hair inside the crack on the rail. I "sun-cured" that bitch right up and kept surfing. Today I have a huge scar and so does my board.

Diane said...

Oh God, I am so sorry. It is pretty disturbing to see one's little boy so wiped out. Heal quickly, my precious son.

Of course, I have no surfing injuries to relate. As happy as that makes me, I realize I have no surfing thrills to remember either.

OS said...'re starting to look your name.

Worse surf-related battle wound has to be the second day ever surfing. It was in Biarritz, France. My friend D and I were so caught up in the stoke we failed to notice that the tide had come in and our route out of the water was no more - the once sandy beach was now deep water and the waves were crashing on the Yugo-size boulders behind. Desperate to find a way out I paddle toward the rocks and tried to time my exit with a lull in the swell. I failed miserably and got pinballed between boulders before swimming back out to sea to the safety of my board. My body was torn up pretty badly by the rocks, especially my fingers and toes from trying to hang on...But, the ripped flesh was no match for the pangs of embarrassment to be had when the French Coast Guard eventually rescued us in front of a crowd of on-lookers. Lessons learned: 1. Know before you go. 2. The body heels faster than the ego.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.

OS said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chum said...

OS-ome. One of my all-time favorite surf stories. You should post about it on your blog and include the video evidence!

J.P. said...

The worse kind of surf injury is the bruised ego when you get pitched in front of your friends.

Chum said...

J.P. I have lots of those types of scars!

warm jet said...

It's a Lowdown!

Who in there right mind would pick Colin Farrell as Arturo Bandini?
Yeh, I read your personel file.
Thanks to the patriot act, I know you like these subversive things, and your in trouble.

Chum said...

I always feel like somebody's watching meeeeee. Yes I did threaten personal harm to Colin Farrell for thinking he can play the part of Arturo Bandini, my favorite pathetic protagonist. But it is most likely Fante's son who is to blame for selling the script to whomever thought they needed some STAR POWER in it.

On that note, why is it that Hollywood feels compelled to cast Brit/Irish/Aussie actors in American roles and vice versa? Sometimes it works, but most of the time they all have the same accent - which sounds like it was learned from the same dialect coach - straight outta the Jersey: "Badda-bing!"

warm jet said...

Since you brought up the ego scars(yes, the worst kind) JP I'd have to say that, the worst is getting that special wave of the day on one of the really good days, with most everybody
caught inside, you drop in and in that cocky way, flirting with a double up,
you give your bottom turn your best"I'm a sittin on a lazy-boy" soul arch and your rusty-assed back just won't be havin'it and gives out. What happens next,you can imagine!

Jeffery said...

Just 2 weeks ago I hit the trifecta:

1. Cross step to credit card

A soul crushing shot to the goolies. Lefty got pulverized and the rest of my unit got slapped like the proverbial red headed step child.

2. Tombstone to the chin

Pete Puma lump under my chin the size of a tennis ball.

3. Kick out foible

I kicked out of a head high closeout and missed the timing so comletely that I caught the rail with my face.

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