Some people are good at avoiding parking tickets. Others might be an expert in dodging awkward small talk in grocery lines. But L.A. regular footer Matt Pagan has proved himself quite savvy in the life-saving skill of evading decapitation via surfboard. As you’ll see in the clip above, Mr. Pagan glides into what looks to be a promising little Sumbawan wall, until… BAM, a surprise swallow tail attack. We caught up with Matt to see if he’s still in one piece, and for a first-hand breakdown in what actually happened.
SURFING: So how was that? Give us a little rundown.
Matt: It was so scary. We were surfing Parascopes and I was just psyched. The sets were kind of going wide, and no one was really getting them because it was a pretty novice crowd. I saw that wave come in and it looked like such a good one, probably would’ve been the best wave of my session. I dropped in and went around two people, but then I saw that last guy lingering there. I tried to go around him when all the sudden I heard a super loud pop sound. I thought it was his leash hitting my board but then I felt his board hit me and I thought, “Did this guys just break my arm?”.
Yeah. So gnarly. Watching the video, it’s pretty clear that the guy didn’t even duck dive.
Yeah, he didn’t even sink the back of his board.
No! He just sunk the nose.
So were you just trying to just grab his board and get out of there after it hit you?
I actually wasn’t even trying to grab his board. His leash wrapped around my arm so I was stuck to it and we rolled together underwater. I was pissed at first, but then I saw how scared the guy looked, thinking he just killed me, and I almost felt bad for him.
Did you come in after that?
No! [laughs] The waves were super fun so I kept surfing. My arm felt a little numb, but I was just glad I didn’t take fins to the face.
You’ve got yourself some serious ninja reflexes.
Yeah, I guess my mom signing me up for Tae Kwan Do when I was younger really paid off.
Well I’m glad you’re alright man.
Seriously, so thankful.