“It was kind of a medium-size one … a right. I was going backside in the barrel, and it started to close out, so I tried doggy-dooring it, and I just got compressed. The lip landed on my back and snapped my leg all weird. The wave wasn’t anything special, just a freak accident. I kinda knew my leg was broken as soon as it happened ’cause I heard it snap. I grabbed it and kind of tweaked it into place. I broke it in two spots, so it’s kinda f–ked. I got to the beach, and they (the lifeguards) helped me up the sand. I started to almost pass out, and next thing I knew, I was in the ambulance.”–Sean Moody[IMAGE 1]
Pipeline was an angry beast of a wave that day. Not too big, about four to six feet, but breaking really hard and in shallower water than normal. Sean (who should be back in the water by mid January) wasn’t the only surfer to have his season interrupted, nor was his injury the most severe. Longtime Pipe ace Liam McNamara got the worst of it. One of the few who make Pipe look like a walk in the park, McNamara snapped his fibula (the largest bone in the human body) and sustained damage to his hip. In a very heavy moment, the lifeguards helping get Liam ashore were yelling at the paramedics to give him some morphine to ease the incredible amount of pain he was suffering. Liam was flown to a nearby hospital by helicopter, and he remained there for a week.
Whether it was the hungry early-season crowd pushing itself too deep, surfers being rusty from a long summer of no Pipe surfing, or just plain bad luck, Pipeline was swatting people like flies. No less than ten surfers were knocked from the lineup this fateful day, which leads us to the question: Who the hell said Pipe’s a walk in the park? And which park are they referring to?–Justin Cote