APRIL 16, 2008 — Although reports are somewhat inconclusive at the moment, SURFER has learned that Damien Hobgood took a massive beating at Teahupoo during a late-afternoon session on April 14 and might be out for the upcoming Dream Tour event at Teahupoo. According to SURFER's ace photographer, Tim McKenna, who is in Tahiti but wasn't at Teahupoo at the time of Damien's wipeout, things got pretty heavy for Damo.
After speaking with a friend who saw Damo go down, McKenna reported that “Damien and Brian Conley where both paddling for a massive set wave, but Brian pulled out. Damien kept going but then decided to pull out at the very last moment. It was too late and he got launched with the lip and got smashed on the reef. He blacked out for a while underwater and was washed into the lagoon. Luckily, a Jet Ski was there and they managed to pick him up and bring him back to a boat. He was taken first to Taravao hospital and then transferred to Papeete hospital. He has a broken bone in his shoulder, a hole in his head, and a bunch of scrapes and bruises. He was released from hospital this morning."
If Damien is indeed as bruised and battered as these reports suggest, you might want to rethink your Fantasy Surfer team for Teahupoo. Despite the beating, Damien is reportedly in good spirits and is his usual upbeat, personable self.
The treacherous wave at Teahupoo is one of the scariest and most respected on the planet. The wave draws water off the reef in a manner that seems to defy physics. When a swell hits, the end result is an oddly shaped and massive barrel that breaks in a few feet of water over a sharp reef. Lives have been lost.
It is not known whether or not Hobgood’s injuries will keep him out of the ASP’s WCT Billabong Pro Tahiti event coming up in May. SURFER Magazine will provide more information as soon as it becomes available.