Professional bodyboarder Jack Baker was almost proven prophetic after he told a photographer who was in the water with him that "this backwash is going to kill someone." Then it almost did, and it was Baker that nearly died.
Baker, 22, was bodyboarding a small wave off Cronulla near Sydney, Australia, last week when he was shot like a cannon upon being struck by the backwash, as reported by Yahoo 7 News in Australia.
Surfer Craig Stroh captured the amazing footage of Baker getting launched 20 feet into the air and 40 feet forward:
“I was already going too fast; I attempted to eject hoping it would send me back through the wave,” Baker told Caters News via 7 News. “The wave was 4 foot and the backwash was only 4 foot, too, but the impact between the two refracted the energy and I was caught between the two.
“Instead of ejecting I got smashed through the wave and suddenly I was in the air just falling down. I had already got kicked about so hard in the waves so as I came back down I was dizzy and I didn’t know whether I was in the water or in the air. But when I hit the water that woke me up.”
He coughed up what he thought was sea water as he made his way to shore then realized it wasn’t sea water.
“Every 10 seconds I was coughing up so much blood and I was short of breath,” he told Caters. “I was really scared I was going to die.”
Stroh thought the same thing.
“As soon as I saw it, I thought it was pretty bad; it was the worst I have ever seen,” Stroh told Caters. “I thought, ‘I think he might be dead.’
“I was really scared for him. I had never seen anything like that before.
“Luckily then I saw him surface, but he came straight in so I knew something was wrong. As he came up on the rocks the wave nearly got him again.”
Baker, who lost a liter of blood, was rushed to the hospital where it was determined he’d suffered a burst lung and internal bruising. Doctors who treated him couldn’t believe how he could fall from 20 feet when the waves were only 4 feet.
“People do get absolutely destroyed by backwash, but I don't know of anyone being launched this high,” Baker told Caters.
Doctors instructed Baker not to surf or bodyboard for four weeks, but when he’s healthy again, he plans on returning to the water first thing.
“I just put my faith in God and hope for the best,” he said.