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Big-wave surfer Jamie Mitchell breaks sternum at Puerto Escondido

A rather large south swell began filling into the Mexico and Central America regions late this week. And on Friday, Puerto Escondido started to do its annual summer thing by offering some oversized beach break barrels.

Which means that a good portion of the world’s top big-wave surfers were on hand to take advantage of the Mexican Pipeline. This included recent Nazaré Challenge winner Jamie Mitchell. Unfortunately, Mitchell took his board to the chest during a closeout barrel and needed to be taken to the hospital for a broken sternum.

Mitchell told the tale of the wave that caused the damage to Surfline, which also has video footage of the closeout barrel that did Mitchell’s sternum in.

Upon trying to get his last wave, Mitchell pulled in to a 6-foot barrel when it closed out on him. As the Australian told Surfline:

“As I was getting blown off, the board slingshot right into my sternum. It hit me like a truck. The force of the board was like some 500-pound dude hitting you in the chest. Took the wind right out of me. Underwater, I could feel a big indent in my chest. And when I came up, I couldn't breathe. I couldn't yell for help, I couldn't reach my arms above my head.”

But Mitchell’s scary incident wasn’t over yet. He struggled to make it out of the impact zone and get breaths in between taking waves on the head. After nearly 10 minutes the lifeguards were finally able to get to him and get him back to shore. He was then taken to the local hospital in an ambulance where he was diagnosed with the broken sternum.

Mitchell was not wearing a big-wave inflation vest, which may have protected his sternum from the blow — and we know how much damage big-wave boards can do. Thankfully, no organs were injured and Mitchell announced on Instagram this morning that he is already on the way back to Los Angeles to get further X-rays and scans and to begin the rehab process.

He will have to take some time off, but Mitchell is expected to make a full recovery and is “Already looking forward to the next swell and surfing with all my brothers.”

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