“The combination of the ambulance ride, hospital stay, MRI and other tests, ended up costing me $55,000”
We got GoFundMe’s coming out the wazoo after a wild start to the Hawaiian season courtesy of that classic combo of surfers throwing ‘emselves over the ledge at Pipe with no travel insurance and the US’s out-of-control health costs.
Peruvian surfer Joaquin Del Castillo, a surfer known for kinky airs as well as the ability to impound himself in the Pipeline palace, shattered his hip in ten places.
He is asking surfers to continue sending cash into his GoFundMe account ‘cause he limped away from hozzy with a one-hundred gee bill in his pocket.
“This was probably one of the hardest and scariest moment of my life,” the carrot-topped heartthrob told his fans on Instagram.
“In the second slide there’s a little video of what happened and the crazy part is I don’t even remember anything of this…💔 I don’t know if I can even talk about what happened after I left the contest so I’m gonna keep it to myself but I’m so happy and grateful to be alive and looking forward to heal.
In the video, Eimeo Czermak is pitched head first, driven to shore by the water patrol where we find him retching on the beach.
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Eimeo’s injuries were even worse than first thought, too.
In a little back and forth exchange with Eimeo’s dad a couple of weeks back, turned out his kid is just hoping to get the use of his legs again.
Now, fans and critics have gone head to head on the kid’s Instagram account after Eimeo revealed he was 55k in the hole ‘cause he didn’t have travel insurance, wrongly thinking he’d be covered by the Vans-sponsored contest.
In his GoFundMe message Eimeo writes,
I’m Eimeo Czermak, a 20 year old pro surfer from Tahiti who suffered a serious injury to my spine and head competing at the Vans Pipemasters on the North Shore of Oahu. I fell on a wave and damaged my spinal cord and head, which caused a serious concussion, when hitting the reef.
I am grateful for the Hawaiian Water Patrol and team of lifeguards that brought me to shore but once arriving on shore, I realized I didn’t know where I was and couldn’t remember what was happening.
Shortly after, they put me in a stretcher and a neck brace. That was when the adrenaline wore off and I felt intense pain on my spine and couldn’t feel my legs.
I was taken by an ambulance to the ICU at a local hospital where they performed various procedures and, although I told them I did not have health insurance, they required me to stay overnight which cost me $37,000.
After that, I couldn’t feel or move my legs for a week and a half, and still to this day am dealing with the effects of the injury and concussion, which has resulted in depression. I’ve never been one to ask people for money or help, but this situation unfolded without my control and has put me and my surfing career in a very difficult position.
The combination of the ambulance ride, hospital stay, MRI and other tests, ended up costing me $55,000.
If I’m unable to pay back the hospital bills, I won’t be allowed to return to the United States or surf in Hawaii again since I am from Tahiti (French Polynesia).
This is heartbreaking for me because Hawaii is like a second home to me and has played a huge role in growing my career because of the major contests’ I’ve been able to compete in there. If I’m unable to return to Hawaii, it’ll have a huge negative impact on my surfing career.
So far, fans and pals have raised almost ten gees of the desired fifty-five for Eimeo Czermak.
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Not everyone was thrilled by the latest call for cash from an uninsured surfer, although they were in the minority.
Hot take: people surfing life threatening waves shouldn’t do it without medical insurance
Imagine going to the US and not having health insurance. Then imagine surfing Pipe on top of that. Funny how the world stage in snowsports doesn’t seem to have the same issue. It’s a given that if you’re on the hill you have insurance – same should be said here.
Ah, excuse me? But sorry to say as it is, he just had to take his disposition especially as a high-level athlete. When you know you’re going abroad especially in the field of sports and worse as a HIGH LEVEL ATHLETE! SURF discipline, we know that the danger is real. Then even every departure abroad sorry but you take insurance WHY? Because you never know what could happen to us down there. And he knows that medical bills in America are very expensive. But here you go on social networks, because yes it’s nice to be hot my friend but you must have known all this.
Most of the fury was aimed at Vans, who recently made news by sacking most of their surf team, and who appear to’ve ignored the kid after he left in the event all trussed up in an ambo.
Wow The @vans Pipe Masters Invitational had no insurance for the athletes at a wave like Pipeline . Sounds like a massive liability problem
What???? The event had no insurance ? At Pipe? That’s crazy. Get well my friend
Make a contest without insurance is ridiculous
@vanssurf really?!? No support to an athlete that puts his life on the line to deliver a great show that makes your contest a hit?!?! I mean, with all due respect it is unacceptable that you guys would even consider treating the participant athletes with such disregard 🤦🏾♂️ Once again the surf community will pull it together for one of there own to cover up lame corporate greedy disrespectful attitude towards the people that make it happen!
@vans you guys should cover this.. it’s a drop in the ocean for you. You’de be nothing without good surfers promoting your brand
@vanssurf @vanssurfevents @vans Hook this boy up. Every competitor needs to be covered. When competing you go hard or go home for the show that gives you highlights. When shit goes down the competitor needs to be looked after.
These athletes put their lives on the line for these events. How do you not at the very least offer them health insurance for injuries sustained during events?
The contest didn’t have insurance?! What Da Fuck?! You guys could literally die surfing at that spot. There should definitely be insurance requirements for these comps and contestants.
And so on, although some followers of Eimeo Czermak, better versed perhaps in the machinations of contest insurance, said the event was covered because competitors signed the obligatory waiver. And, surely, no one travels without travel insurance.
A good lesson for Eimeo Czermak and Joaquin Del Castillo, don’t y’think?
I can’t imagine a world where I wouldn’t shell out the few hundred bucks for travel insurance.
You ever roam the globe without a little insurance back up?