>>>>>>>>>>>your worst wipeout<<<<<<<<<<<<<

I’ll tell mine later…


…what’s your worst liquid jackhammer ?

try and keep it surfing…but a good story is a good story.


pipe?    wedge?  blacks? bell’s? j’s? …your bathtub ?



spill it here !



I fell 22’ from a 2 story house at work a few years ago,I was flapping my arms like a hummingbird and had time to say “oh shit” before I hit the ground.Luckily I was in really good shape at the time,I landed on my feet and immediately fell on my ass,but got up and walked away without the slightest of injury but my nerves were a little racked.I’ve only surfed florida so no real surfing wipeouts to date,ran out of air a few times after being pushed down deep but thats about it.

Hey Herb,

I've had a couple of truly memorable ones...

I had a new board, sanded that very morning after filler coats the day before. Still so green it was a liability...

A friend and I rocked up to South Wall, Ballina. It was big...a freight-train left hander, waaaay too big for the boards we had, but a long drive back to Byron to get guns.

So there I am nursing this small-wave design board into backhand bottom turns, spinning out all over the place. Too much edge, too much tail area. I settle for some small ones off the shoulder, and after a while hooting others into cavernous barrels I figure its almost time to go in.


I'm in the prime location for a looming set. I take it and I'm burying my back foot way back on the tail, just skimming a sketchy high line on my backhand. The wall is'nt going to back off and the lip begins to pitch way down the line. So I switch to solid survival stance and go for it, fingers slapping along the face as the cavern opens up. I'm well in there, having a good look around, the lip slamming down just ahead of me.

The tail picked up and spun out under me...so I'm ski-ing along ass-first before the wave picks me up and pitched me. I cartwheel spreadeagled over with the lip...

And slam right through the board, hip connecting solidly with the deck. I come up from a heavy hold-down, screaming...And the board is not two clean pieces either! One of those dirty breaks with the big shred of glass flapping.

I fixed that board soon after, and it was one of the best small-wave boards I'd ever had.


The other one was was at big Bells, 8-10ft. I was just a grommy. I somehow belted my head on the board during a freefalling wipeout and blacked out under water. I remember coming around while still under water and I had to find which way to the surface. I got there, but coughing up water in big gulps.

I paddled back out...my buddy said Hey I think you should go in, you've got blood pouring down your head!

(He stayed out there, enjoying the swell as I waited...I was later treated for concussion...)

I pulled hair out from the smashed rail of my board before repairing it...






nothing fancy from me, 1. a three wave set triple pounder with a gasp for air between the first two up north shore decades ago, n and ne swell kept bumpin into each other for two days. We were deep on the right side of Waimea, then I was to the rocks, paddled around and crawled up on the beach at three tables then sat there and sat there some more. Same thing here in japan once but s and se, great typhoon waves though. Blew and tumbled me to the rocks but got back out and had a great session. 3 Broken board and long swim against the Haleiwa channel at Puaena, 4 ripped leash plug and long swim to the beach for my board here in Japan last year. Outgoing tides both times.

Best wipeout ive seen was tc up north.

surf was about 20 cm high

got run over by goatboat

extensive bruising on two arms. bruised skull , bleeding , concussion, trashed board.


Pascuales, Colima.  Solid overhead.  Place is seriously heavy.  Took the first one of a set on the head on the paddle out, got separated from my board, board got seperated from my leash.   Held down like never before or after, I was actually relieved when I got bounced off the sandbar because it gave me a direction to push off from to reach the surface.  Came up, got a breath, got nailed again, thrashed, rashed on the sandbar, rinse, lather, repeat.  After the third wave I got a chance to catch my breath a little.   I was solidly in the “work zone” still, and had to swim out to try to get under the next waves rather than take them on the head again.  That was a crappy decision to have to make.  By the time I finally swam in I was completely exhausted.  In all my surfing, it was the only time I seriously had some fear about making it back to shore.


Photo from that morning, non-set wave:

get to like it. thats what surfings all about , just add in 9 degress water temp and a flushed suit

Worst wipeout was getting poked in the eye by someone else’s board. Going down the line at Rat Beach… see another guy coming towards me from the next peak down the beach… I grab the nose of my board and kickout… only to see him panic and launch his board right into my eye. Concussion and paralyzed iris. My pupil was wide open for thirteen years from that. Then one day, it started working again.

Many (many) wipeouts over the years.

The closest I’ve come to thinking it may be the end was in Hanalei some years ago. Titus was calling it 25’ Hawaiian. The faces were about 40’ or so. I was living in Paris - going to art school - at the time, and hadn’t been surfing much… except for trips to see my family on Kauai. I wasn’t in the best surf shape. I knew the waves were big, but they get much bigger after the long paddle out when you can actually see them up close. I was riding a new 8’10 gun - too short for the conditions, but that’s what I had… plus I was sporting my art school ultra thin look, so I didn’t need the same amount of foam I do now.

After what seemed like the longest paddle out ever, I placed myself outside, thinking I’d just bob and collect my thoughts. All of a sudden a massive set wave appeared beyond the lineup. I was in the death zone with no possible escape. I looked around and realized the low tide was going to make the pounding even more sketch, since I could see almost dry reef in the boneyard. I reached down and stripped off my leash, thinking I’d have a better chance on my own. I said “good luck, I hope to see you again” and pushed my board away from me before taking a breath and heading as deep as I could.

I took the pounding of my life. I thought for sure I’d be smacking into hard coral and becoming fish food. I could feel coral fingers as I brushed by them, but magically, I escaped with just a few very minor scratches.

I swam to my board and paddled out again… only to have the exact same thing happen! Crap… I was still a bit numb from the last pounding, so I wasn’t as freaked. Same washing machine rag-doll through the coral. Again… no major impacts. I was still alive. Back to my board for the second time, and I hadn’t even (voluntarily) caught a wave yet.

This time I paddled way the f*#k outside. I didn’t want anything to do with the death zone. I didn’t even want to catch anything except my composure. I thought I’d bob around for awhile and shake the feeling of the near death experience(s) I just went through.

All of a sudden… another outside set-wave started jacking, and I’m right there… not way outside like I was thinking. There were a couple local heavies watching and hooting, and I had no choice but to turn and drop in. It was a “push the tail in, pop forward, take two strokes, and freefall” kinda deal. I remember my board and I didn’t really seem connected until I got towards the bottom. Somehow we became one, and I made what was probably the bottom turn of my life. I focused down the line at the bowl that was pitching in front of me. You could have driven a Mac truck through there and come out dry. The ONLY way out was through the biggest tube I’ve ever seen. I drove up the face and positioned myself high so I’d have a shot at it. I made it!

After that it was a cakewalk for what seemed like miles. All I could see in front of me was an endless perfectly formed - and huge - face. I love big waves because there is so much room to move around. The sweet spot grows along with everything else. That may have been the single best wave in my life. It washed away the feeling of death I experienced moments before.

I paddled back out for three more with a whole new attitude. After 45 years of surfing, that’s my standout day. I went home with a new perspective on things. I survived a near death (two) experience, and came to terms with the sea. It was clear there is no “conquering” to be done. I knew that was a losing attitude. My level of respect for the ocean, waves, my life, other surfers, and pretty much everything on earth went way up that day.

Im just hoping that it’s not yet to come.

I like that one Kendall...


Oh so many to choose from…This last one coulda killed me.  I yakked a late take-off on an overhead day at Basura.  Tangled up in board, leash and lip; I got the classic over-the-falls thrashing.  Seemed a little more violent than normal but I came up, no blood, limbs and teeth in place.  Good to go!

About 10 minutes later I felt a little dizzy and nauseous so I paddled out into the channel to rest a bit.  Next thing I remember was paddleing toward shore, then I was on the beach.  Everything felt dreamy.  I looked at the normal way up the cliff but the tide was high and it would have been touch and go even if I wasn’t sketchy.  I remember deciding to paddle around the point to an easier passage but longer walk back to the car.  After the paddle I only remember bits and pieces until Brad Lally woke me up from a really deep sleep by pounding on the window of my car.  I had made the trek and got dressed but fell asleep in the front seat.

I drove to work ok but decided the whole morning was a little to weird to ignore.  I went to the doctor and told the nurse what happened.  They rushed me into a room and hooked all manner of wires to my head and tubes into my arm.  After the doctor checked me from bow to stern he said I had a mild concussion.  If Brad hadn’t pounded on the window I might have slipped into a coma.

Watch out for one another out there!  And if you start feeling dizzy, tell someone in the lineup to help you out.

Mine was the very first wave I took off on at Pipeline. It was in the 8 ft/ 10 ft size range, and amid a chorus of no,no,no, from the lineup, as I went for it.    I was not even to my feet when I was pitched out with the lip, and slammed into the bottom, BAM!    I remember thinking, ''Shit, I'm glad that's over.''    But... it wasn't.   I was picked up again, taken up, and slammed into the bottom again, BAM!   ''Shit, finally over.''    But... it wasn't.    I was picked up again, and slammed into the bottom, a third time.   BAM!    That's when I was pinned on the bottom, and the surge started SCUFFING me over the bottom, toward the beach!   When I came up, I was cut and bleeding on every corner.   Ankles, knees, elbows, and shoulders.   At last it WAS over!  But what a drubbing!

alomst went belly up & left more than the usual amount of my flesh on the reef at rocky rights this day. seems like the unsuspecting smaller days always get me. pics & commentary from my surf journal a few years back



How about a "wipe out" on the way to surf.  I had a 66 slide window VW camper van.  It was still dark and I was driving to pick up a friend to surf.  Entering a turn I see two headlights coming straight for me.  I hit the brakes thinking' this is it.'  No seat belt in those days.  I throw my body out of the way of the stearing wheel(knew a guy that was paralyzed by his in a head on).  The guy hits me on the driver side head on.  The sound of a head on collision is indescribable.  My van rolls over on it's side and then onto it's roof.  When it stops I look out the front(no windshield).  The front of the car that hit me was gone with two big head prints in the windshield. I"m thinking they're f...iing dead. I can't believe I'm alive and decide to get out of my van.  Only my left leg is pinned in all the medal and I'm hanging upside down in what turns out to be a compound fracture of my tibia and fibula.  Hurts, too. Firefighters get there and get me out with the 'jaws of life.'  Turns out the guys were a couple of drunk Texans.  I did 10 months in a leg cast.  Phil( the Texan) did 10 months in jail.  That was almost 30 years ago and a turning point in my life.  I learned not to take life for granted.  I should have been killed and believe I was given a second chance.  I now have a crooked left leg that is a bit shorter that is used to be to remind me how good it is to be alive. None of the poundings I have taken in the surf compare although I wondered if I was drowning a couple of times. I've learned to like Texans, too.  Mike

getting slammed and drug across a serious reef along the central coast on a big day was pretty "fun"....however, my worst wipe out came on a chest high peeler in knee deep water- cranked some discs in my neck and it has been nothing but a pain in the ass since. same spot, similar conditions onlya waist high sand gurglerr broke the neck  of a young lad- we found out later he was so near death as just a little more pressure on the nerve that controls breathing would have done him in.(according to the Dr.) it's those little ones that can get ya...

Dang Kendall!

Mine was in 4 foot Mission Beach. Seriously. I was surfing alone early in the morning at a low tide and waves were breaking in about 1.5 feet of water. A lot of little barrels and closeouts. Small but powerful. So I paddle for this wave and see as I get up that it's closing out on me. I do my normal "dive-through-the-face" thing but somehow I got caught up in the wave and lifted and flipped. Then I landed on my ear and saw a bunch of stars. I felt really out of it and dizzy so I went to my car and fell asleep, which was weird for me but I was soooo sleepy. Then I drove home and did my things for the day. That night I fell asleep hard and quickly thereafter I woke up and began vomitting something fierce. My wife took me to the emergency room where I was told--after 5 hours of tests and pointless waiting--that I had a concussion and partially blown out ear drum.


Love iT!  It's funny you asked.  This happened last Friday in a low tide 3 foot bowl at Newport.[img_assist|nid=1044351|title=Head Wound|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=0|height=0] I backdoored the section and was doing well through a small hollow barrel.  But the section was too fast, and somehow under water my board found the back of my head.  It's a nice inch and a half, 1/8 of an inch wide.  It was fun grossing out everybody at work!

Worst, where I thought I was going to pass out  was at the Wedge 1996.  Was held under forever, glued to the ground. But no pics...

Here's one that adds a little character to my face every day. Ha! I could actually get tongue into it at the top of my mouth.  The barrel was worth it! I was staying at a party house in Lido and everyone thought it was a gag when I walked through the door. [img_assist|nid=1044352|title=Board in the face|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=0|height=0]

Failed to make it out of the tube at Simmons on a head high day.  Amazingly, I missed hitting the reef.  The nose of my board, however, decided to give me a friendly poke in the thigh.  After I came up my leg had a warm feeling, which didn't seem right so I paddled in to shore.  I took off my wetsuit, and I had a little bruise.  Later in the day the bruise had grown, and was covering my whole leg above the knee.  It hurt to walk for about two week, and then it healed completely.  If the board had hit me a few inches more to the left, then my two sons probably would never have been born.

Another close call that I had was surfing low tide Speedy's at G-land.  I straightened out on a wave that was only about head high.  After the wave passed over me I noticed that I was in waist deep water.  As the next wave approach the water lever decreased to ankle deep.  A wall of water about 10' high was fast approaching, and I was terrified.  I just jumped into the approaching foam ball, and prayed that the reef wouldn't turn me into Swiss cheese.  I remember flipping over and landing back on my feet.  Luckily, I was wearing booties.  I slipped and slided as the waved pushed me around, but  stayed upright.  My booties got a few cuts, and I left a few small chunks of skin behind for the fish.  It was nowhere nearly as bad as it could have been, though.  I felt very lucky.

Ok Herb, now it's your turn.    It's time to tell your story.