Wednesday, January 7, 2009. –
Professional surfer and all around hellman Nathan Fletcher broke his femur Wednesday morning while surfing at Pipeline. According to North Shore lifeguard Dave Wassel, at approximately 9am Fletcher paddled out. Pipe was 4 to 6 feet.
The Da Hui Backdoor Shootout had been put on hold, as the west swell was not cooperating with the Backdoor rights. Shortly thereafter, as Wassel, Myles Padaca and others watched from the Volcom house where Wassel resides, Fletcher caught a clean west peak, ducked under and then emerged cleanly from a six-foot spinning tube. He sped out onto the shoulder in full afterburner mode. Fletcher then lay his outside rail into a massive Mach 5 roundhouse. He headed into the oncoming foam ball with a prodigous amount of speed. Too much speed. It was one of those cutbacks. His speed and velocity actually increased through the turn. Unfortunately, the mountainous white cotton ball grinding towards him was anything but fluffy and soft.
"I heard his leg snap," said Wassel. "It was the eeriest sound. Myles and I looked at each other and we just knew it was bad."
Wassel ran into the water with Padaca right behind him. Fletcher was waving for help.
"When I got him Nathan said to me, ' I heard it snap.' And I said to him , 'No, I heard it snap…" explained Wassel.
By this time Fletcher, Wassel and crew had drifted down to Gums and were able to get Fletcher up onto the sand where the legendary North Shore lifeguards were already on the scene.
"It was painful, but he (Fletcher) was handling it like a man," said Wassel. "I asked him if he wanted a beer or anything for the ambulance ride, anything to get chuckle and get his mind off the pain. He's a strong guy. He will be back, don't you worry."
It is believed Fletcher was taken to the Wahiawa General Hospital.