The purpose of compiling a few of the worst disasters to strike surfers is to emphasize that this enticing activity is not without its dangers and that one should be cautious to the best of his/her ability, be it professional surf lessons or more casual surf holidays. You want to know more? Keep reading.
Death is inescapable, and even in the liveliest of sports, its presence looms ever large. Surfing enthusiasts are cognizant of the dangers involved in riding waves, but it’s the thrill that forms a huge part of the attraction, after all.
Contrary to popular belief, it IS possible to have fun and stay safe at the same time.
As far as big shots in surfing go, Mark Foo is right there at the very top. Not only did he exude charisma and confidence from every pore of his body, but he was also actually really good at his craft, i.e., surfing.
It was only natural that he would be tempted to scale bigger and more terror-inducing waves, and one such monster of nature presented itself in the form of Mavericks, a surfing location near Pillar Point Harbor near northern California which was famous for its humongous waves.
On the 23rd of December, 1994, Foo breathed his last as he toppled over his board and got engulfed by the waves. It is believed that the leash that tied him to the board got stuck in the rocks, and that combined with the torrential currents prevented him from escaping. This was further emphasized when his body was discovered a couple of hours later, still tied to his board.
Donnie Solomon was a young upstart who was passionate about surfing, having practically grown up with it. However, one fateful day in Waimea Bay, he paddled into the treacherous waters for the last time.
The story goes that he was accompanied by his friend Ross Clark-Jones when he paddled for the first approaching wave. Unfortunately, he got stuck in a tricky position inside the wave, and after that, it simply became more difficult as the wave got bigger. He did try to make his way outside the wave, but it was simply too much for him to handle; the wave broke soon enough, and Donnie was gone.
That is why surf school is important; it teaches you how to deal with the trickiest of situations.
Some people can claim to be experts at scaling large waves, let alone win awards for it, but the lively Malik Joyeaux from Tahiti could brag about both, and rightly so. However, not even this prodigy was a match against the forces of nature in the Hawaiian waters.
Upon seeing an 8-foot wave, Malik decided to charge forward and ride it. This would be a terrible mistake on his part, as he failed to position himself on the wave properly, and within moments the lip of the wave came crashing on his board, breaking it and taking him down. The autopsy later revealed that the lip had struck him on the head as well, knocking him unconscious.
You are unlikely to see these accidents in surf camp, but they should serve to emphasize that surfing, like everything else in life, can’t be taken too far. Enjoy surfing, but in a safe way.