"Did I win?"
Wild scenes at the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout yesterday as lifeguards were stretched to capacity following injuries to big-wave world champ Makua Rothman, four-times Jaws winner, and big-wave world champ, Billy Kemper and Kala Grace, a twenty-four-year-old local who, only four days earlier, had caught one of the best waves of the winter at Pipe.
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Shortly before two pm, Grace’s helmet was ripped off following a closeout and subsequent sets drove him into the notorious reef where he was knocked unconscious.
In a dramatic rescue, a lifeguard abandoned his jetski to pull the kid out of the water.
CPR was performed on the beach.
“Probably bounced off the reef, he had a big scar right above his eye and right below,” his daddy, the Waikiki Beach Boy Willie Grace said. “He was kind of purple when they brought him in.”
The Hawaiian lifeguard Chris Owens, who nearly exited this mortal coil a few weeks back when he was kneecapped by an adult learner at Waimea Bay, posted an update on Grace’s condition on Instagram.
“Many of you already heard he was a victim of one of the most severe surfing accidents of all time while surfing in the Backdoor Shootout yesterday. I just got off the phone with my life long best friend Fielding Benson who is Kala’s Stepfather and was told from him, Kala has regained consciousness, but he couldn’t speak yet, I think because of the breathing tube in his lungs, but Fielding said he asked for a pen and the first thing he wrote to him and his Mom Maryanne was: Did I win?”
Makua, busted ACL in his knee, Kemper’s condition unknown.
See the rescue below.