Start: 6:45 AM
Time: 45 mins
Surf: 2 times
It has been cranking in Sydney these past few days! Everyone I know is spouting heroic stories of being held down, having near-death experiences, and seeing amazing people do amazing things with their craft.
Hindsight being hindsight, I now know the error of my ways. I bought a new 7'6" Meyerhoffer early in the week and got a whiff of its potential on Tuesday in pretty crappy conditions. So I was frothing to get it out in the 4FT swell on Saturday.
Saturday 6 AM: Drove up to Collaroy and checked out all the breaks. Manly was the best.
6:45 AM: Surfed with Olivia around the Corso pipe. Hard to paddle onto the waves and they mostly closed out. It was high tide too, so hate to think how it got later.
We'd been sitting around for 40 frustrating minutes and then Gareth showed and asked me about Nick's injury (4 stitches) that he picked up on Tuesday morning. Losing my focus and respect for the waves and board I didn't know very well, I took off on the next wave and it was steep!
The tail of the Meyerhoffer locked in hard and I couldn't get out from under the collapsing wave. That shocked me because although it felt awesome to be slotted, I wasn't in control: the board would not respond the way the Carver or Redline would and I was trapped.
For a second it was magic being inside the barrel - it was so quiet and the spray made it hard to see - but then it all went pair shaped. I got smashed and came up with blood streaming down my face and onto the board. The flow rate was worrying. I checked the nose: OK...it wasn't on the side of my face. I did have a nose bleed, but there was another cut somewhere else. Teeth: OK. Lips: OK.
I headed for the beach and the blood was still flowing as I walked past the beach volleyball players. They looked a bit shocked, but I was in my 'mental cave' and didn't want any help.
I got to the car and there was a cut above the left eye. A mate had a look and said it seemed OK. He then raved about the AWESOME barrels he'd been catching!
Went home and cleaned the wound and yes, it was deep and I needed a needle and thread. Damn!
After driving around for a bit looking for a doctor who could sew, I remembered the place I'd taken my friend, Simon, when I fin-chopped him all those years ago: Warringah 24 HR Medical Centre. They were wonderful and very efficient. It helped that I beat the rush. In all, I scored 5 stitches and no broken nose - it was close! - and I'll be back in the surf next Friday if all goes to plan.
I've learnt my lesson: stay focused, respect the surf, and remember that each board has its own quirks which shouldn't be discovered in thumping surf.
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