by Corky Carroll
Watching surfing wipe outs has always been one of the most popular and fun aspects of viewing surfing. Back in the early days of going to the surf movies probably one of the most favorite parts were the “wipe out” sequences. People would hoot, holler and cheer footage of surfers eating it like rats. The worse the wipeout the better they loved it. I have always said that watching horrible wipe outs is really fun, as long as it’s not you that it is happening to.
This holds true with not only surfing calamites, but most all other ones too. Think of all those television shows that show clips of people getting trashed in all sorts of ways and think about how much you laugh at them. Guys getting nailed in the worst spots by stray golf balls, cats missing the table on a long jump, cars driving thru buildings, etc. etc. etc. The gnarlier it is the more we laugh.
In the past I have written about the worst and the dumbest surfing wipe outs I have seen. I have also written about the worst ones I have personally taken. Today I am gonna tell you about a few of the absolute dumbest ones I have been involved in. Embarrassing stuff, but I owe it to the people that I have used as examples of this in the past to come clean with my own not real cool mishap
One of the ones that I wish would not have happened was the always popular unsuccessful riding the board all the way to the sand thing. In my case it happened at the spot in Mexico I surf at these days, La Saladita. It was high tide and I had a nice wave going and was getting close to the beach. My plan was to ride up on the sand and step off on the beach, looking cool for the adoring crowd. There were a number of people hanging out, including a couple of my friends. All was going well and everything was leading up to a successful and glorious beaching when all of a sudden the fin on my surfboard hit a rock. This stopped my board dead, but not me…. I did a violent and very sudden face plant right onto the nose of my board and then rolled off onto the rocks in very shallow water about two feet from the sand. The wave then washed my board and me up the beach together. A couple older people ran over to see if I was ok, everybody else (including and especially my friends) broke into uncontrollable laughing. Humph!!!
The next one happened at Cloudbreak, a spot off of the island of Tavarua, in Fiji. The wave breaks a couple of miles out to sea off of the island and you get out there by boat called a “panga.” One afternoon we went out for a session and the surf was really good. I got my board ready, put on my rash guard and attached my surf leash to my foot in the boat so I would be all ready to jump out first when we pulled up to the break. In my excitement and haste to be the first into the lineup I didn’t notice that my surf leash had got wrapped around the bench in the boat. As we slowed to a stop I happily leaped out all set to land on my board and start scratching over into the surf zone. But nooooo. My leash caught and both me and my board stopped dead in midair and came crashing down into the side of the boat. This brought forth a tremendous amount of glee and giggling from the whole pack. Thankfully neither me nor my board were damaged.
The last one that I will mention today also happened during a boating incident. This one was getting back into the boat and was much later and down at a different spot in Mexico that you have to boat into in order to surf. I was with a group of pals at this remote spot and they all surfed longer than I did. But I could not get back into the boat until they finished due to my vertigo. I get seasick if the boat is not moving. So, I had to sit on my board for about an hour until they got done. Then there is the weird fact that I can’t pull myself into the boat, I never have been able to. I could paddle faster than anybody on the planet yet have never been able to do a pull up. I don’t know why. So, I have developed a way to get into the boat by waiting for a swell to come by, paddling like I am trying to catch it, standing up on my board and diving into the boat. But on this day I got a horrible upper leg cramp from sitting so long in the water. I couldn’t get up on my board. So, I had to loosen my surf trunks so they could put the gaff used for fish thru the leg and “hoist” me into the boat like a big whale. Did my pals laugh? Humph!!! You are laughing too, aren’t you. Ha ha haaaaaa. Humph!!!!