Surfers Save Kneeboarder’s Life In Newport

Analog team manager Geoff Moysa and surf photog Tom Cozad were among a crew on Wednesday that helped rescue a kneeboarder from the water at 54th street in Newport Beach. The kneeboarder was knocked unconscious by his board and Moysa was the first to take action. Here’s the full story below.

As reported by Laylan Connelly for

Tom Cozad–a Newport photographer who saved a kneeboarder's life Wednesday morning in Newport Beach–talked to him Wednesday night to check on the man, Kenny Honingford, who was still at Hoag Hospital. Honingford gave his vivid recollection of the scary moment from his point of view … under water:

Honingford, as told to Cozad and posted on "I went to 54th yesterday morning to catch a few waves before work. I caught two good ones, hollow ones, and was paddling back out down by 52nd St, when a very hollow set loomed on the horizon.

"As the wave began to approach me I could see it was sucking sand off the ocean floor and it broke top to bottom on top of me, and my board hit me hard in the head. I've surfed some of the heaviest waves in the world, and it was the worst pounding I'd ever felt. It pushed me under, and I immediately became paralyzed, unable to move a muscle.

The rescue. Photo via

The rescue. Photo via

"I tried to relax and hoped I would float to the top, but as I did another wave broke and took me under, again. I now realized the gravity of the situation. I was running out of breath, and I was free floating under water. A third wave then broke and hit me, and a relaxed calm came over me, and I realized that I was going to die. I said good-bye to my wife and 15-yea- old daughter. … And I slipped into unconsciousness.

"I came to on the beach, I don't even know how long later, and there were a lot of people standing over me. I remember seeing Kirk Blackman, telling me I was going to be ok. I was confused and thought… This isn't heaven. Really, I'm not dead?!

"I was taken to Hoag, and it was noted on the way that my heart was in an abnormal rhythm that is not life threatening, Atrial Fibrillation. The cardiologist says it is nothing to worry about in comparison to what my body went through.

"At Hoag I had an MRI and a CT scan, and the doctors saw no spinal fractures. There is however signs of swelling of the spinal cord. But no permanent damage. The spinal cord instead experienced a temporary shock. I am in ICU and am alert, moving, walking and beyond thankful to all of those that helped and prayed for me.

"Thanks to all, it is heartwarming to hear that everyone pulled together to save my life."—Kenny Honingford

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