Are we all in major brain trouble?
The cover up the new Surfing World magazine features a stunning shot of professional surfer Owen Wright standing tall in a thick lip’d barrel. The title screams OWEN in bold oversized font. A pull quote from Mick Fanning declares, “One of the greatest sporting comebacks of all-time!”
The featured story, written by iconic surf journalist Sean Doherty promises to reveal “His miraculous journey from total darkness to world number 1.”
Owen’s story is truly remarkable and has been covered by news organizations around the world, though the specific details are jumbled. He suffered a brain injury while paddling out to Pipe in December of 2015 and was helped to the house he was staying in and either fell asleep or was seen by a World Surf League doctor. Later, he went to the hospital where his condition was diagnosed and it was revealed that he had a brain bleed.
He told Sean Doherty, “If you try and duckdive a 15-foot second reef Pipe wave, you’re only going to be a foot under water with 15 feet of wave coming down on you. Something is going to give… and I gave.”
Owen does not claim to have hit his head on his board nor the reef. He says a duckdive caused his brain to bleed. This has never happened in the history of surfing. Ever. Or at least has never been recorded by anyone. Ever.
Does Owen’s injury point to a dangerous and never revealed side effect or our favorite pastime?
I paddled out to plus-sized D street in Encinitas today. It wasn’t 15-foot Pipe but… it actually wasn’t even close but took a good number of set waves straight on the head since I can’t duckdive properly, not even a foot under water, since my shoulder pops out if I try. I’ve also taken too many proper waves on the head even good 12-foot sets at Off The Wall and worse 20-foot Bastendorff, Oregon sets which also happened to be freezing cold. Is my brain set to bleed? Are all our brains set to bleed? Are they already bleeding? Are the surfers out at Jaws and Mavericks one poorly timed duckdive away from brain explosion?
Is this surfing’s concussion-gate?
Is this why I can’t remember anything?
So far my enquiries to Rip Curl have been rebuffed but I’ll keep on and keep you informed!