The Story of My Surf Injury

I decided to write my story. Perhaps it will help someone not to step on the same rake ;)
This happened in 2012 when I had been surfing in Bali for about a year and a half almost every day.
Probably, every novice surfer (as well as, for example, a motorcycle rider) reaches a point when they start feeling cool, like they've got it all figured out ;) And then fate gives you a harsh wake-up call.
That's exactly what happened to me. I went alone to surf at a well-known spot for me in Bali, at Balangan. The only unusual thing was that the water level was slightly lower than usual, but nevertheless, it covered the reef. The wave size was average, probably reaching one and a half meters on the sets.
There was some competition on the lineup, but I felt like I could now catch the best waves and that constantly pushed me to prioritize myself. There was also one guy surfing there, he looked about 45 years old, an experienced surfer, and he didn't want to give up his priority either, catching very good waves. It annoyed me. Probably many people can relate to this feeling.
After his next ride, I decided that I was not worse than him and wouldn't give up my place anymore. I paddled to the farthest priority (very close to the left cliff of Balangan) and waited for the sets.
I also remember that just before my fateful ride, I noticed a surfer wearing a helmet and thought, "What a fool, what's the point of a helmet? It's just an inconvenience!" ;)
Another magical and amusing moment was that on this surf session, I met a very friendly Italian guy on the lineup, whom I had literally met just a couple of days ago on the quite remote island of Sumbawa. Strange coincidence, I thought.
And then came a good, big wave. I took it, but it closed too quickly, the lip hit me on the head, and I went headfirst. Now I know that this can be the most unpleasant fall in surfing. It's almost impossible to regroup for a safe entry into the water.
I felt my head touching the reef, very softly, which was surprising! I emerged with the thought that I probably got a few scratches, touched my head with my hand, and realized that I had a large piece of scalp hanging loose! There was no pain, just shock and disbelief.
The first person to notice me was actually the Italian friend, his face was scared. He said there was some serious shit going on with my head, blood was gushing out, and I should lie down on the board and try not to move, while he would paddle me to the shore. I probably wouldn't have made it out on my own, or only with significant blood loss.
A crowd gathered on the beach, someone brought a first aid kit, they helped me take off my rash guard, wrapped my head, and called for a car.
Then there was surgery under general anesthesia at BIMC, 36 stitches, and one to two months of recovery, during which I had plenty of time to reflect on my mistakes.
Now about the conclusions I made for myself:
Study the spot! If you're going to a new, potentially dangerous reef spot, a good idea is to come there for the first time wearing surf booties. After riding waves, stand on the bottom and memorize the depth at that spot. Relate this to the current water level.
The potential danger is that often at mid to low tide, the reef is still slightly covered, and from the lineup, you can't see the depth boundary, where it's still chest deep and where it's already ankle deep. I misjudged this aspect.
It's also useful to come to the spot during super low tide and look at the reef, the protruding rocks, etc.
Surf with friends! While other surfers may help you, they might simply not notice that you're injured somewhere inside. Friends, on the other hand, usually watch each other's rides and can promptly come to your aid.
This advice is especially important for new, unfamiliar spots.
Confidence, but not overconfidence! Train, learn new things, but don't strive to outperform everyone on the lineup at all costs. It's quite possible that the guy surfing nearby has 30 years of surfing experience and has tackled Chopes, Pipeline, etc. Competing with him, you can easily get injured.
Have a great session, everyone! ;)
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