Chapman took a second reef wave near the end of a heat and got caught up when the wave doubled up on the first reef, which is the last thing he remembers of the event that nearly killed him.
Chapman was saved when fellow surfers Seth Moniz and Nathan Florence acted quickly, along with the Hawaiian Water Patrol and the North Shore Lifeguards. Chapman recently told his tale to KITV.
“I’ve hit the reef with my face before, I’ve had my leash wrapped around the rocks and almost drowned. But this by far was the most radical one. Everybody was there at the right time and right place to help save my life. I feel like I owe them my life.”
It's been Just over a week sense my accident at pipeline. Words can not explain how grateful I am to still be here. I thank the @hawaiianwaterpatrol @northshorelifeguardassociation and friends for saving my life. All I can say is everything is much more vibrant and special. I also want to thank the Doctors, my friends, family and everyone for the good vibes, prays and love. God was watching over me…. I am grateful… Next time you see me surfing pipeline I'll be wearing a helmet.photo @jake_of_all_trades
Chapman ended up requiring stitches and staples in his head, as well as needing his lungs pumped of salt water and sand. Chapman tells that he’ll be wearing a helmet from now on: “It’s time to be smart now and learn from what happened. It’s smart to wear a helmet absolutely. I’ll be wearing one from now on.”
Doctors have told Chapman he needs to stay out of the water for another two months, but you can bet he’ll be right back out there as soon as he can.