Reef Rash -- 7/7/02

Me, not going to make it (Buddy foto)

Headed out west to a semi-secret break. The small south swell was short-lived and had already peaked the day before. However, when you’re a weekend warrior, you take what you can get.

The waves looked pretty small (mostly shoulder-high), but at least they had good form. Best of all, they were empty. The one thing that was of concern to me, though, was the low tide. The spot is quite treacherous with sharp, craggy coral throughout the break. Couple that with a zero tide and you have a recipe for disaster.

I had a field day bodyboarding for nearly two hours, just catching these small, fun rides. Had to make sure I cut out of the waves before taking a tumble, but that didn’t always work.

On one wipeout, I was surprised at how deep my legs went. The wave swept me a little bit and I found out the reason why--I was in a hole in the reef all the way down to my thigh. I was fortunate I didn’t torque my legs out. But on the subsequent ride, I wasn’t quite so lucky.

Pulled into a little tubelet going left and bailed when it closed out. Unfortunately, my body went right into that trough right below where the lip hits the flats. That spot is a one-way ticket straight down, and that’s exactly where I went.

My wipeout reflexes made me flip upside down on my back. As soon as I penetrated, I hit reef right on my lower back. The reef went right through my rash guard, stunning my lower back. Reef rash for sure.

More people eventually followed my lead and jumped in. Everyone was pretty cool, sharing waves and encouraging each other. Soon, Buddy and Rich came out, scoring some good stuff of their own.

Unfortunately, Buddy too got a case of the rash, falling forward and scratching up both palms of his hands. His board did not come away unscathed; it received a gouge just off the nose. Buddy was bummed, but continued on with the session.

I had to leave early, so I got out of the water. Decided to take a few digital photos before I left. Talked story with old acquaintance Warren Ho’ohuli, who is an old-timer who still rips on his longboard.

Soon after, I bailed, satisfied from the decent session. Getting scraped up is just part of the deal when you ride over reef. It was a novelty for my daughter when she saw the cuts--she's even showed off her daddy’s cuts to her friends.

Ah, reef rash! Medals of honor, or medals of clumsiness?

Reef rash

Me again, late takeoff (Buddy foto)

Bodyboarder, charging


Hawaiian pull-out


Bodyboarder again on the left

Aloha from Paradise,