I’d been surfing all day and already snapped three boards, so I was a little antsy to get a wave on my new board and see how it felt. I sat for a while and the pressure was building in my head. After about 40 minutes, a crazy set came in and looked angry. Being as antsy as I was, I decided to whip it and go. When I got to the bottom, I realized that the wave was too fast to make and it was going to be too fast to make. I got one big pump in, then jumped off. I didn’t penetrate through the wave and so I got picked up and tossed towards the bottom. I could tell that I had fallen in a really bad way. I nailed my shoulder on the reef, then rolled on my head. I don’t remember anything else underwater.
For some magical reason, I popped up on the surface just in time to see another wave about to land on my head. Out of breath and completely dazed, I reached down to rip my leash off and realized that a huge chunk of my foot was flapping off. When I went to kick under the next wave, the flap of skin folded over and hit the tip of my big toe. I was blacked out underwater and didn’t even realize that I hit my foot. I starting screaming for help as soon as I came up from that wave. Luckily, Tom Dosland and Jean de Silva were right there and handed their boards over until a JetSki was able to come rescue me.
Billy Kemper had gotten hurt earlier in the day, so he was on the Ski doing rescues. I was still in shock as he helped me onto the ski and whipped me to the beach as fast as possible. I still couldn’t really comprehend what was happening. The medic, Kris Gardner, was surfing a different wave and was on his way back so I had about ten minutes of just sitting there trying to come to terms with the fact that I had just escaped death.
I couldn’t stop crying and couldn’t believe that I was still alive. I was just sitting in a chair gushing blood all over the deck of the restaurant thinking about my life and my family and how miraculous it was that I woke up on the surface. I just sat there shaking until Kris showed up to calm me down and stitch me up. I ended up with 9 stitches in my foot and 5 in my shoulder or something like that, along with a ton of other scrapes all over my body.
After that, I just sat there for a few hours tripping on the whole situation. I talked to my family and couldn’t believe how lucky I was. It’s about 3 days after the fact and I’m still shaking while writing this. I’m so grateful for whatever allowed me to wake up on the surface. I just want to thank all the boys that were there for me when shit got real. Without them having my back and helping me out, who knows what could have happened. --Parker Coffin