Author Topic: Has this ever happened to you?  (Read 4463 times)

maui wave warrior

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Has this ever happened to you?
« on: January 08, 2013, 05:39:24 PM »
Went out a couple of weeks ago on a small 4ft but somewhat heavy day meaning the section was pitching up and breaking really hard with lots of close outs. I was somewhat desperate to get in the water but everywhere rideable was way crowded so I ventured to a spot where the waves were very challenging boarderline makeable. I felt like being a hero so I figured what the heck. Everyone else was probably 200 yrds or more away where it was more manageable. After a couple of pretty good rides I get nailed by a close out and my board knocks my head at my ear. My world goes in a spiral with everything spinning. For what seemed like an eternity, I tried to grab my board but was just too dis-oriented. I was getting pounded at the same time compounding things even more. When I surfaced I literally could not tell the sky from the water or make out anything around me. I pulled my leash to feel for my board and managed to bearhug it until things stopped spinning.  Luckly after about 3 minutes I started to regain my bearings. As I thought,  I broke my ear drum. Man that was scary. Doctor said I was very lucky to have not passed out given the size of the rupture. That would have been dire given no one else was around that could help.  My lesson learned: make sure someone is nearby just in case and don't be a hero.

tautologies

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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2013, 05:49:53 PM »

woa, good to hear you're okay.

This is exactly why I wrap my head in my arms anytime I get caught.

I've had several hits in my head through the years (now it makes sense huh), and it really does not take much to render you unable to save yourself.

Bulky

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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2013, 06:58:54 PM »
Glad you're OK as well. As much as I enjoy having a break to myself, I'm still aware that things can go wrong really fast. A couple weeks ago I had a similar episode--not as drastic an injury as you, but I got piledrived by a wave and then pounded by a few set waves that followed. I now know what is meant by being "punch-drunk" as I had to battle back outside, get to some kelp and just hang on to it for about 10 min until everything around me returned to the color it should be.

Always risks involved. We can never eliminate that, but I value returning home to my wife and kids and living to surf another day.

Hope you heal up quickly.
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supdiscobay

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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2013, 07:32:39 PM »
I am curious as to how big the rupture is.
I also competition slalom ski and about 10 years ago, starting falling around a ball, but thought I could still pull it through and make the pass. So I held on to the rope for a second too long.  As I hit the wake with the side of my head, the most extreme pain hit me, and then even though I was on top of the water, the whole world was moving and I could barely keep my head above water.  The boat came around and pulled me out.  Couldn't walk without help, and ended up laying in the fetal position for about 4 hours, throwing up from being seasick.  The hole was 20% of my ear drum and leaked fluid for three days.  Once the swelling subsided, I had the first surgery.  They cut the back part of my ear and folded my ear over on to my cheek to expose the ear drum, then took skin grafts from my ass to repair it.  30 days later when they unplugged my ear, the surgery failed.  Lived with it for a year.  Got used to surfing and skiing with an oneil hood and a wax ear plug.  Couldn't hear a damn thing in the water, but it worked.  I really looked funny on those 100+ degree summer days on the Delta skiing with a neoprene hood.
Tried the same surgery again a year later and it failed again.  I was pretty depressed because it takes 30-40 days to recover, and during that time you are deaf in one ear.
Waited another 6 months and then a new doctor wanted to try a different surgery, where they didn't have to cut my ear off.   
She scraped around the perimeter of the hole so that it would grow scar tissue and then stuffed my outer ear canal with fatty tissue from again my ass (guess i have a good ass).
The fatty tissue would not allow any vibration from sound and then she plugged the rest of the ear with heavy cotton.  30 days later and after 2 and 1/2 years of grief, my ear was fixed.
I have since broken the other ear drum twice and both times it healed itself.  So I hope yours heals itself, but if it doesn't and you need surgery, ask a lot of questions.
I now wear docs ear plugs when I surf in any pushing swell.  Small days are ok, but when there is power in the water I don't want to go through it again.
Glad you were ok and made it.  It is very hard to describe that disoriented feeling.  But it is scary until you feel like you can stabilize yourself.
Good luck.
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surfcowboy

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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2013, 07:54:15 PM »
Good stories, and something to watch. I wasn't aware this could even happen from water.

supthecreek

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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2013, 08:04:38 PM »
Big fan of Doc's Pro Plugs... year round!

Heal well!
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Beasho

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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 08:21:32 PM »
I never, repeat never, surf without this vest on under my suit.  Even in 4 ft conditions.  It keeps you warm, you can wear a 3/2 all winter, and can float you to the waterline an 1" below your shoulder line sitting vertical in water.  Awesome.

Broke a rib one time, but had this on.  I could barely move, couldn't get on the board at first and was worried about how to flop on the sand.  Never worried about drowning though.

PS: When things go way overhead this brings you right up!

upwinder

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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2013, 09:44:29 PM »
make sure someone is nearby just in case and don't be a hero.

Gath helmet?

Got clocked pretty hard a few weeks ago by my board on a fairly modest day but I was out on the break by myself, once I regained my senses it got me thinking about some protection.
In theory, there should be no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is...
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surfinJ

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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2013, 01:25:14 AM »
Buddha you had a close one.  Like you I choose to surf alone, next peak
over kinda thing.  Saturday, 6' low tide wedging and thick.  Pack of short
boarders 100yds up the beach and some spongers the other way.  Got
cocky after several clean exits and took off on a macker that closed out.
Couldn't truly escape at the end and took a ride up and over.  As I came
down I feared contact with board or bottom, but like most times, nothing.

After that I frothed about abit before washing up on the sand.  I had a vest
on easing greatly my beating by subsequent waves in the foam.

Though reading your story, I realise how dumb lucky I've been not
helmeting up under the more trying conditions.

supthecreek

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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2013, 05:13:52 AM »
I was going to say this in my 1st reply, but muzzled myself.
It's now morning... and I still have the same feeling....

Surfing with others is marginally safer than surfing alone.
"where's Johnny?"
"must have gone in"

Surfers are too busy looking for the next wave to watch anyone.

On Cape Cod, 10 years ago, I broke my leash on a big day in late December. Lots of guys out.
Very strong exit rip. I swam across it to the north side but I was so far out that the ambient outside rip was dragging my slowly north and out. I had been a champion distance swimmer as a young lad... swam like hell for 1/2 hour in a full winter suit.... no closer.
Considered taking off my wetsuit and trying to swim 1 last fast try... decided against it.
Was thinking about my little daughters... it was incredibly sad.... swam harder... really tired.
A huge outside set came... I used what I had left... and managed to catch a set wave...
Body slammed over the falls ;D ;D ;D I'm going in! yowza yowza ;D

Got to the beach, 1/2 mile north of the break, collected my board and walked to my car.
(Past all the other surfers)
Brian, a surfer "friend" who owned a local restaurant, was sitting in his van filled with longboards and wetsuits. He watched the whole event.

Brian " Man....I thought you were a goner!"
Me "Yeah... thanks" :-\

I know many times surfers save others... but I have learned not to rely on it.
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Wetstuff

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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2013, 05:44:57 AM »
Scary S__t.  My First rule: Hands/arms above my head.  I have kited for a decade mostly alone, proned a lot before that - away from the 'My Wave!!!' types.  Got rid of a Surf Kayak the first time it wanted to turn me into Christopher Reeves.  ..but you guys have spooked me.   

Sorry to hear of your long ordeal S-D-B.

And - if you really want to get spooked read this about drowning.  Holy Chit!  I never really knew ..and I have sailed, iceboated, surfed, etc. for my whole, long life.

http://www.xgeez.com/2011/06/drowing-doesnt-look-like-drowning/


Mmmhm...!

Jim
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maui wave warrior

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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2013, 03:57:58 PM »
excellent article Wetstuff. Thanks

firesurf

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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2013, 04:47:51 PM »
http://www.xgeez.com/2011/06/drowing-doesnt-look-like-drowning/

Wetstuff thx for posting this article on drowning. A MUST READ!

Eardrums - I've also ruptured one.  I now always keep several sets of rubber earplugs in a jar of alcohol in my van. I know they are clean when I head for the water.

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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2013, 04:48:10 PM »
yep happened to me a few years back on a big day when i was still proning-didnt hit the board but smacked my ear on the water and the world went spinning-could not make out land or horizon-i stayed pretty calm and just held on to my board as i took a few more on the head in the impact zone-it took a good 10 minutes for the world to stop spinning enough to get my bearings-i paddled out past the breakers and just laid on the board with my eyes closed for about 30 minutes. Paddled in when it got better another 20 minutes later.
It was the same ear i ruptured my eardum on in 8th grade after a high dive 1.5 fail!
I never got it looked at back when it happened and since then i cant go more that 5-6 feet underwater before it starts feeling like someone is slowly sinking an ice pick into my ear ala that gnarly scene in Saving Private Ryan!
Sux because i think i could really get into spearfishing and scuba but i can never clear my ears.
Stay safe and if you do get an ear injury go get it professionally checked out!
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Re: Has this ever happened to you?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2013, 01:49:12 AM »

And - if you really want to get spooked read this about drowning.  Holy Chit!  I never really knew ..and I have sailed, iceboated, surfed, etc. for my whole, long life.

http://www.xgeez.com/2011/06/drowing-doesnt-look-like-drowning/

Jim

Glad you found that useful, that's one of my sites that I haven't done much with for a year or so. Should probably fire it back up now that I'm not working on Ke Nalu.

My recent little episode getting pounded and going over the falls three times was really pretty bad. I didn't really think I was a goner, but I wasn't very happy. While I was resting in the lagoon I realized how easily that could have been fatal. If the board had hit my head instead of my hip on the first rinse cycle, if I hadn't put my hands up when it came at my face on the third. Lots of opportunities for unhappy endings.

Be careful out there, And yes, you're on your own. I once swam two miles on the Oregon coast to get in when my windsurfer got away from me. There was a guy watching me "checking on me every so often" for three hours. He never called the fire department or tried to do anything to help. He was standing on the beach when I got in and told me all about it. He thought he'd done me some kind of favor, keeping an eye on me. If I had the energy I would have beaten him to a pulp.
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