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Pro surfer Derek Dunfee demonstrates a proper ‘tombstoning’ surfboard

“Tombstoning” in one of those things that you hope you never have to experience in surfing. And tombstoning at Mavericks is probably one of the last places on Earth where you want that to occur. Welcome to pro surfer Derek Dunfee’s nightmare.

When a surfer is crushed deep into the ocean by a wave, his surfboard inevitably tries to follow (if he’s wearing a leash). At a big wave spot like Mavericks, that is incredibly deep and produces waves with extreme forces, this occurs often.

RELATED: Here are 6 of surfing's craziest near-death experiences

But a surfboard (especially huge big wave ones) is too buoyant to be brought all the way down, so the surfboard appears to be standing up vertically in the water; like a tombstone.

A wipeout like this at Mavericks will almost certainly give way to tombstoning.
A wipeout like this at Mavericks will almost certainly give way to tombstoning.

Dunfee’s particular Mavericks predicament in his own words:

“I slapped my face on the water really hard and cracked my neck. The wave pushed me 30 feet deep causing my board to tombstone. I could feel that I was getting pushed deeper into the ocean instead of washing in towards the beach. Instead of trying to swim up and breathe, I relax. Luckily, I didn’t get hurt.”

Lucky indeed.

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