I took a trip to Fiji in July with my good friend Dave Wassel. (You may have seen this feature on Surfline. Check slide 14 and 15). What you didn’t see was what happened to my board after I kicked out of my wave and almost took Garret’s on the head. Usually, a wave gets smaller from the time it breaks to the time it finishes. I found out first hand that it does the exact opposite at Cloudbreak. After kicking out of one of the greatest adrenaline rushes of my session, I realized it wasn’t over. Instantly, I see all of the bows of the boats in the channel air drop off the back of one of the biggest waves of the swell. That’s when I knew I was in trouble. I saw this wave continue to grow as it rushed closer to me. I put my head down and paddle like I had never paddled before on my 9’2″. Too scared to look up, I felt my board start to move backwards. That’s not good! I realized I was half way up this 20ft odd beast and it was about to take me up and over the barrel and straight onto the “shishkabob” dry-reef section. No doubt, only pain would come from this. Words from my friend Dave Wassel, who had a two wave hold down from a similar scenario the day before, rang in my head: “Don’t try to duck dive the lips out here, pull your leash and get the hell out of there!” So, I did what any sensible man would do… I pulled my leash and got the hell out of there by barely
swimming under the capping lip. The wave wanted to bring me back over the falls with it, but luckily my little chicken legs kicked as hard as they could and I just punched through.
I jumped onto a jet-ski to go find my board in the lagoon at the end of Cloudbreaks long, sharp, live coral reef. We get to the point where my board should have been and all I could make out was white confetti. Then, I realized my brand- new beloved 9’2″ was in 18 pieces of pure foam. All the glass had been ripped off! I couldn’t believe it. I have broken plenty of boards, but had never seen anything like this. I picked up as many of the remains as I could, and thanked whoever it was watching over me that day (probably my brother) for not letting my board have been me! The wave’s were still firing, so I grabbed my 8’4″ and got straight back out there hahaha.