The Story Behind “The Dead Cockroach”

Mark Healey describes his harrowing Teahupo’o wipeout.

When I let go of the rope and looked down, I knew that this was the one I’d been waiting for-but I was too deep. To cover some ground, I did a little bottom turn, but then I saw it was going to absolutely mutate on the west bowl and I was now on top of the second ledge.
Not good.
Next thing I know, my board got sucked into the face and I was flying through the air. While skipping on my back, I remember looking up at the lip throwing over me and thinking, “You really managed to do it this time.” After that, I got one of the most violent beatings of my life. It felt like my limbs were being torn off and I had no body control whatsoever. My tow-board hit me in the foot underwater and I wasn’t sure if it ripped my toe off or not, but I wasn’t too worried about that at the time-I was just trying to find a “happy place.”
When I finally popped up, Pete Mel was there to give me a lift. My little toe was dislocated and bent out so far that it ripped the skin between my toes, but aside from that and a sore back and neck, I was unscathed.-Mark Healey