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13 November 2014

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Thrusters Diary

You are in: Cornwall > Surfing & extreme sports > Thrusters Diary > Amazing Escape

fin injury

Amazing Escape

Being a man with no life, the other night I found myself watching "The World's most Amazing Escapes" on the Utter Guff channel. One of the clips showed a snowboarder taking on a near vertical mountain face, stuffing it up at the very top.

He tumbled for 500m over rocks and ice to what should have been certain death, and then sitting up having suffered nothing more than a bent eyelash and a badly scratched helmet! Hardcore!

woog woog surfing

Woogwoog on a big un in Nicaragua

Similar escapes happen a lot in surfing. It always amazes me how few serious injuries there are at Gwithian given the amount of out-of-control boards and riders, let alone at breaks like Teahupoo and Pipeline. However, the total opposite can also happen: a seemingly innocuous incident can be life threatening.

Woogwoog's near death experience

Last winter I was in Central America, surfing with a woman called Woogwoog. The surf was only a couple of feet and a bit rubbish. I gave up after half an hour. As I was walking up the beach, I saw Woogwoog had had the same idea and was also paddling towards the beach. Seconds later, I heard a goose-pimple inducing scream and turned to see her clutching a horrific injury to her inner thigh and lots of blood.

fin injury

Swolen leg? Or pork sausage?

It seemed impossible. Just five seconds earlier she'd been in waist deep water paddling to the shore and now she looked like the victim of a shark attack.
As she was approaching the beach, she had climbed off her board.

Just as she was doing that, a small broken wave unexpectedly hit her, simultaneously knocking her forward and flipping her board upside down. She fell onto the board, which wouldn't have been bad at all, had the nose of her board not jammed into the sand, ramming one of the fins completely into her thigh. Yes, COMPLETELY; the whole way!

Now I'm no medical expert, but even I knew there is a huge artery pretty much exactly where the fin went into her leg. It's called the femoral artery and, if severed while you're on the grounds of a well-funded Swiss hospital, you're in big, big trouble. If it's severed on a beach in Costa Rica, an hour by dusty, unmade road from a grubby doctor's surgery, you're dead.

black eye

Woogwoog with a shiner

Happily, the angle of the fin's entry meant the artery was missed by millimetres, Woogwoog survived and is surfing better than ever proudly carrying her battle scar. By surviving, she escaped one of the World's lamest deaths, but did suffer one of it's lamest injuries, which is a good idea for a TV show.

And when that show is inevitably made, I'm guaranteed a top five spot with my remarkable "Putting my back out for a week by licking a stamp in Penzance Post Office"! Softcore.


last updated: 29/08/2008 at 16:43
created: 29/08/2008

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