Nathan Fletcher Breaks His Leg At Pipe

Wednesday morning started without much fanfare at Pipe and Backdoor. A swell crept up into the 4- to 6-foot range, and most of the competitors for the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout stood around waiting for the call.

But around 9:00 a.m. or so, Nathan Fletcher got sick of waiting, so he paddled out for a few waves. Ten minutes into it, he came flying out of a 4-footer, laid into a warp-speed roundhouse and looked to bank it off the whitewater.

That's when something went horribly wrong.

"I was standing on the porch at my house," said witness Dave Wassell, who was the first to get to him. "And as he went to hit the whitewater, I heard the loudest, 'Crack!' And this was from {{{100}}} yards away. I knew right away that he broke his leg."

Wassell started walking down toward the water's edge, saw Nathan raise his arm and immediately swam out to grab him. "It was just one of those freak things with the angle of it," says Wassell. "He was going super fast, the whitewater was running fast, wedging in sideways, and it just hit him wrong. But Nathan's one of the toughest guys around. When I got to him, he was very calm, not panicking at all. He said, 'I think I broke my leg.' And I'm, like, 'Yeah. I know. I heard it.'"

Wassell got Fletcher to the beach OK, just as the lifeguards clocked in for work. He was taken to the hospital and we've yet to get the official diagnosis, but Wassell doesn't have any doubt that his right femur snapped at the mid-way point. "It's a sound I'll never forget," he said.

"It's such a bummer, too," continued Wassell. "Nathan is on such a roll. If there were a Maverick's Contest fantasy team, I'd put my money on him. He's that in tune right now. And to have this happen on an 8-foot face…well, it's just the way it goes, I guess."

[Stay tuned to as we learn more.]