After reading some of these posts I had to chime in with my OH SH!T moment. I surfed throughout my childhood and teenage years after high school I went to a landlocked university and reluctantly gave up surfing for several years. After college I got heavily into sponging, body surfing with fins during the redflaggers and a few years later surfing. So as I was just getting back into surfing in 2009 I decided to take a trip with my wife to Cabo San Lucas. I didn’t know anyone down there and have a lot of respect for local knowledge so I decided to book a surfing excursion to utilize locals as opposed to bringing a board and jumping in. So I booked the excursion for Friday 10-16-2009 at Old Man’s, a perfect cobblestone bottom point break with a channel cut by a stream that acted like a conveyerbelt for the paddle out. Nearly every wave broke at the same exact spot giving a short punchy left hander or a long peeling right until you got to the channel. On Friday the surf was 3-5 feet and insanely perfect for me and almost to big to run the surf school only a few people caught waves on the shoulder not at the peak of the point. I caught a ton of waves the instructors giving me props the whole time. Well needless to say I was super excited and booked another surf excursion for Sunday. The forecast was calling for 5-7 feet Hurricane Rick was predicted to stay a cat 1 about 1000 miles dues south no worries. Well Sunday morning rolls around and the forecast is still calling for 5-7 feet I get to the surf spot the instructors say it is to big to run the surf school but I could still go out. So I grab the 9’6 longboard they brought for me and paddle right past 2 other guys knee deep in the surf scoping it out. Dumb move! I did not take time to see what was going on and I would later **** myself for being so hasty. Well I ended up paddling out by dumb luck during a lull in the sets, even so the waves were at least 2wice the size they were 2 days before but still not breaking out in the channel. There was about 15 or so people out at the point so I got in line a little to the outside to wait for a wave. 5 or so minutes go by and I see a wall way out on the horizon, everyone in the lineup immediately turns and shags ass to try and make it past the first breaker, I paddle my ass off and realize I’m not gonna make past the break so I look behind me no ones there so I ditch and dive under the wave it grabs the board and ragdolls me underwater for a solid 15 seconds I break the surface and continue to take another 4 waves on the head. I am now thinking that was by no means a 7 foot wave it was much bigger. At this point I am tired so I paddle waaayyyy outside into the channel where I figure I can catch my breath. The sets keep rolling in and getting bigger by the set. Then I see a set way out in the distance that looks like its gonna break in the channel at that time one of the surf instructors Roberto gets out to me and say its waayyyy to big and we need to go in. This wave was a F@cking monster the fear I felt when I saw it breaking outside us is indescribable. We both ditch our boards and dive under it, and take another 3 waves after, although they had broken far out and were white wash by the time they got to us. After the set Roberto says to me it never breaks this far out in the channel and it is definitely over 10 feet. We paddle our asses off toward shore only to get nearly broke in 2 by a shore pound close out. I got back into shore after this 2 hour ordeal exhausted and listening to the locals talk about how big it is and they haven’t seen it like this in a decade and that it is well over DO. I got back to the all inclusive we stayed at and immediately went to the bar, then my room to check the buoys, they had upped the forecast on surfline to 15-18 feet by days end and the cat 1 hurricane was now a cat 5 175mph sustained 600 miles due south moving north. Later that evening we took a booze cruise to lovers point on a 300 person partyboat. They captain would not leave the harbor because to surf was “extremely large and dangerous” all I did was chuckle.
From the archives: if I recall correctly, there was a guy on here awhile back who posted a saga about when he, or his buddy, was out in large surf & wiped out. During the tumble, his stick found him & the fin basically carved him from his taint onto his package. Just tore him apart down there.
And he still had to make it back to shore to get to hospital. I still cringe recalling that one.
That one stand out in my mind as one of the more gruesome tales from the surf.
Out in 5-7 ft. typical pretty heavy Jersey surf. SUPper and I both catch waves from the same set. We're both inside and he takes off in front of me paddling back out. I'm about 15-20ft. behind him when the next set rolls through. I'm scrambling to get out from behind him but it's too late. Without even looking he ditches his board and ducks under the wave. As I go for my duckdive all I see is a 12' SUP bouncing right towards me. Wondering if the leash is going to catch it and hold or if he will just get dragged and I'll take the SUP to the head. I duck as deep as I can and didn't get hit but I was bracing for impact. Come up. Guy just looks at me, gets back on and keeps paddling. Get out to the lineup and I let him know that he almost just killed me. He was like "oh, sorry. I can't turtle roll it." I was like, "what? if you can't control your board, don't SUP where there's other people."
#3. a 2 ft day in Maui, surrounded by tiger sharks...
#2. a 15+ft day on sunset cliffs. Lineup clearing set wave, followed by another right befoer I surfaced and held me under for a good 15 seconds. Broke 2 toes trying to duck dive my board with my feet like 10 feet under water... I was the only guy out for like an hour after that. Scared sh**less trying to pick off an edge to ride in.
#1. a 12-15ft SOLID SW swell pumping into Calafia in Baja. It was only me and a few buddies. DOH+ on every set. Sheet glass. Low tide... To get out to the spot, you gotta paddle out through a sketchy cove, with underwater rock jetties and jagged reefs everywheere and paddle a good 800 yards south around a rocky point. While in the lineup, you have to navigate around 15 foot BOMBS dropping into 2 feet of water off the point.... There is no way out of the inside... Just jagged reef for hundreds of yards in from the right hander... If you try and ride in to the beach on that, you will die. Just shredded against the shallow reefs by 10 feet of whitewater... So after every massive right you took, you had to scrape back out to survive... And the exit is back to the same sketchy cove, an 800 yard paddle to the north, where you have to take off on a GIANT right, that mushes up against the rock wall of the cove, and then refracts back into a left and puts you on the beach... No room for error. You have to ride the wave up into the wall, then it balled up, I layed down and slingshotted back into the beach.... If anything went wrong that day, you could feel death looming. The entire inside of the entry/exit cove is all jagged rocks and reef. EVERYWHERE under the surface. You get pitched off one of the waves jsut going back in, and you are as good as impaled. ... I have not surfed that spot since.... It was wetsuit sh**ing, piss your pants, saying prayers in the lineup type surf.... Just freight trains over shallow reef with no way out.... You must be 100% commited..... Never been happier to feel the sand in my toes.... My crazy Navy seal buddy failed ot mention everything that went into surfing that spot... I just got a 3am phone call "Hey, get your big wave baord, its on" I didnt think it through or ask enough questions....