A video of a nasty wipeout on a massive wave at California’s Mavericks off Half Moon Bay has been dubbed one of the worst surfing wipeouts ever caught on film.
Seasoned big-wave surfer Garrett McNamara was attempting to take on a towering wave when he faltered on his descent, falling off of his board and skipping through the water like a stone before being crushed by the lip of the crashing wave.
“A million thank yous for everyone who has been sending positive vibes,” McNamara wrote on Facebook, alongside a photo of him in a wheelchair with his arm in a sling. “Everything went well and is put back together and doctors expect a 110% recovery. I want to send a special thank you to everyone out at Mavs who helped me get to safety.”
The current El Niño in the Pacific is bringing high waves to Half Moon Bay, but recent storms have made the water choppier than normal, and, consequently, more dangerous for surfers.
Pillar Point deputy harbormaster Cary Smith told the San Jose Mercury News that of all the wipeouts he’s seen in his time patrolling the surf break, “it was probably one of the worst wipeouts I’ve seen on video.”
“My gut reaction was, ‘Oh my. Oh my god. How’s he going to react to this?'” Smith told the paper. “Seeing him take those three bounces and getting crushed by the lip of the wave was very uncomfortable to watch.”
McNamara was not scheduled to participate in the Titans of Mavericks competition at the fabled surf spot, which has been postponed to give the water time to calm. The last day that the one-day contest can be held is March 31.
According to the Mercury News, McNamara holds the world record for the largest towed-in wave ever surfed, at 78 feet.