By Alexander Haro
Ours has finally given a warning worth heeding as the notorious Australian slab has made a victim out of Kobi Graham. While he may not be well known outside of Australia, Graham is one of the key players in the Australian reality TV series Bondi Rescue. He also caught the collective eye of the big-wave scene last year when he took runner up at the Oakley Big Wave awards.
Graham fractured his C6 and C7 vertebrae in his neck when he dug a rail in and went head first over the falls on May 30. Anyone who has seen Ours knows the inherent danger of the wave; a solid slab breaking over just a few shallow feet of reef and a cliff face jutting out of the water that serves as a perfect backboard for the notorious backwash.
After towing into the second wave of a set, Kobi pushed his nose over the ledge and set up to pull in. Reportedly, the timing couldn't have been worse: the wash from the first wave bounced off the point and slammed into Kobi's wave. As a result, he caught his edge, was sucked over the falls, and pile driven headfirst into the reef.
Even with two broken vertebrae, Graham surfaced, paddled over to the ski, and informed fellow Ours local John "Bones" Dwyer that he thought he'd broken his neck. Dwyer and photographer Billy Morris (who is a trained fireman) steered towards shore in a painfully slow trip to a waiting ambulance, where it was confirmed that Graham's spinal cord was intact.
Graham underwent surgery last night to insert a small plate across his vertebrae. The surgery went well, and he has full movement. For now, it looks as though one Australia's favorite big-wave surfers sidestepped serious life long injury.