Damien Hobgood Update

Check out the only published photos of Damien Hobgood’s wipeout HERE

Call it a calculated risk. Barely two weeks after suffering a concussion and breaking his shoulder in three places during a hellacious Teahupo'o wipeout— an injury that prompted Damien Hobgood to pull out of the coming Billabong Pro Tahiti — the defending champion recently decided he's going stay in the competition. Or at least he's going to be there to try.

"Basically, it feels a lot better than before," says Damien. "And it's getting better every day. So I'm just giving it as much rest as I can and hoping the contest starts as late as possible. But I'm definitely going to see how it feels before I do anything."

Sounds scary. But once you do the math, it starts to make a little more sense. Injured on April 14. Contest start date of May 8. Add five days and you're right around a month out of the water — definitely early, but still within the four- to six-week range suggested by his doctor. And while it's the same shoulder Damien dislocated at Teahupo'o in 2005 during the event, this injury's different.

"It's not really the shoulder," Damien explains. "It's the scapula, sort of on my back, so it's not as crucial of a spot. It'll probably hurt if I drag my arm, but my doctor basically said the only thing to really worry about is hitting it again. That will definitely make it worse."

As a result, don't expect to see Damo in any early warm-up freesurfs. In fact, it's likely the first wave he'll catch since the wipeout will be in the opening minutes of the opening round. Which leaves only one question. Why? Why risk more pain and even more time out of the water? Considering his past two years of suffering accidents competing hard, fans would understand if he played it safe for once . And after his continued strong finishes despite missing events, you'd have to assume that he'd be a shoe-in candidate for the injury wildcard if it came down to the end of the season.

"I don't even think that way", Damien insists. "I just love the event. And I always feel like if you can do an event, why not do it?. But if I get out there and I feel okay — I'm in the moment an and I'm focused and my adrenaline's going — I could end up surfing {{{100}}}%. Then again, if I'm out there and I'm not surfing right and I'm in pain, I might clown it and get a 33rd. There's no telling. But at least I'm not at home wondering, 'What if?'"

Check out the only published photos of Damien Hobgood’s wipeout HERE