Sunlight was just starting to permeate the sky. I popped out from the jungle path and onto the shoreline. I got a view of a wave peeling mechanically down the point. I counted 8 people in the lineup and let out an involuntary cackle. It was one of the best setups and waves I’ve ever seen. I scampered over the cobblestones and paddled out for my second session at Pavones. We had arrived the afternoon before, and I was able to get in a quick float to wash off the travel grime, but this was my first quality session.
3 hours into the session changed the course of our trip. I caught a wave and as I was dropping in, I saw a guy further down the line paddling as hard as he could for the wave. He obviously did not see me. I hooted but he didn’t hear me. As he was dropping in, I grabbed his outside rail and flipped him off his board. He flew off his board and landed behind me but then got caught in my leash. This stopped my forward momentum and pushed me up into the lip of the breaking wave. From there, I got thrown into the flats which was an easy 10-15 ft fall and landed ribs first. I immediately “heard” a pop in my body and felt an odd snap inside my chest cavity before getting taken on a tornado ride under water.
The wave dissipated and I came up choking for air. I had gotten the wind knocked out of me. The drop in perpetrator and I also had our leashes wrapped together. We spent the next 45 seconds in an entangled mess and took about 10 more waves on the head together. He apologized profusely but I couldn’t focus on anything but the pain. He asked if I needed help in, but I idiotically said, “It’s probably just a stinger.” I ended up paddling back out and catching one more wave. When I stood up this time, my ribs felt like an accordion, and I could feel a crackle in the middle of the bone. I almost passed out from pain and rode the wave directly to the beach. I hobbled back to the house and told Lianne that I thought I had a pretty bad injury. She looked at the expanding contusion with concern and said, “I think we need to get this checked out…”