A gash or two


Just as the winter season’s winding down (last days of April), and it seems that the powerful surf for the North Shore is over, we have a sneaky north swell. Good heavy waves. Close interval and stormy.

It looks like fun, with no one out, challenging and mean, and just my cup of tea.

Klausy Boy and I paddle out for a Lunch Time session. Both of us completely comfortable. Both of us taking a couple wipeouts here and there with the stormy conditions.

Some good rides. A couple good meaty waves. Well overhead on the sets. We’re having fun even though the conditions are not great. The current is ripping, and it’s fast paced surfing fun.

And then something goes wrong. My guess is that I airdrop into a wave from deep. My guess is that the late takeoff doesn’t go as planned, and in the blink of an eye my board hits me like a baseball bat. Right to the face.

Maybe the board got whipped over the falls. Maybe I did too, I have no idea what happened. With the hit to the face I lose a chunk of memory.

But after my board blasts me, when I’m underwater rolling, I know right away that it’s bad. It feels like my cheekbone is crushed. It feels like my face is mashed.

So I pop up and grab my board, aim towards shore and paddle hard. In my periphery I can see some cheek gore, and I know there’s no point in touching it. I spit blood. I know that the sooner I get on land the better.


I yell three times toward Klausy Boy. Gargled yells, the third one catches his attention. I point to shore, and he changes course to meet me. He takes a good look, and his eyes open wide. He lets me pass, and he sits up and signals the lifeguards at Chuns.

It takes us a couple minutes to get to the beach and they’re there waiting. They take a good look and ask Klaus if he can drive me to the ER. He says yes.

And I’m not dizzy… but I’m not sure how fit I am. I don’t take my leash off. I don’t trust bending over. The lifeguards have given me a wad of thick medical grade paper towel, and I’m holding it to one side of my face, and there’s plenty blood already. And up on the busy road I ask Klaus if he can take off my leash for me.
And the adrenaline is running the show. And I’m starting to get giddy. Curious to look in a side view mirror. We make it to our cars. Klaus takes my board. I’m still holding the pad to my face. I take a breath and steady myself before I go look.

And as I bend down and analyze the wounds I see gouges on both sides of my face. My left cheek bone has a thick, bloody chunk. And towards the edge of my right jawline, the edge of my throat, another deep hole. This one, I think goes through into my mouth. And I realize there that it was my fins that got me. I get a little goofy. And Klaus is changing into dry clothes getting ready to drive. And I’m still in my wetsuit unsure of how it will go putting on clothes.

And Kohl and Casey pull up, and it’s a bloody gory scene. And it’s fun to dance around for their cameras and I’m talking up a storm, but my train of thought is scattered, and I’m blabbering to Kohl about a character in book II, but I can’t quite wrap my head around it, I can’t remember exactly who or what I’m saying, and now I think I might be getting dizzy. Is it from blood loss or concussion?


And they help me put on dry clothes, and I take a sip of water and it burns the puka in my cheek. And I make it into Klausy Boy’s truck, and he takes a minute to find a break in the cars on Kamehameha Hwy to pull out onto the road and head up to Wahiawa.

And I close my eyes, and I don’t think I’ll pass out, but it’s not out of the question. And my thoughts are spinning, and time gets weird, and we’re up in the pineapple fields and I send a text message canceling my carpentry work for the next day. And I call Noelani, and talk into the phone avoiding the gore and blood, and tell her that I’m headed to the hospital. And, that I’m fine.

And then we’re there. And the entrance to the ER is under construction, and it’s confusing which way we’re s’posed to go. But eventually we get to a door and we have to get buzzed inside, and then we’re waiting in a hallway, and there’s a security guard eavesdropping on our silly conversation, and ten and then fifteen minutes go by, and I’m covered in blood, and eventually someone comes out and starts the process, the ER is full, but there’s one bed available in the hallway. I say good-bye to Klaus. Tell him thanks for the ride. I go in there, lie back, holding gauze to both cheeks now, and I close my eyes.

I’m glad that I’m not in pain, not in a rush, relaxed, and able to observe the process, and over the next couple hours I get cleaned up, numbed up, and stitched up. About thirty stitches in my face.

And I stumble out through the hallways of the hospital alone, and I get lost for a moment, and people who pass by look at me like I’ve got something weird on my face. And eventually I make it outside, and it’s evening, and a small headache is setting in, but that’s ok, cause at least I had some good medical attention, and now I can focus on healing. And I can be grateful that nothing more serious happened. I didn’t get knocked out and drown.

And my friend Sara has just gotten off work at the hospital. She meets me there in the parking lot and gives me a ride down the hill, back to the dirt parking lot where my truck is sitting waiting for me. And she asks if I’m alright to drive, and I say yes, but really I feel like I had too much to drink, and I use all my focus to get home.  I sit in a hot bath and close my eyes.  Safe.  My woman watches over me, she cares for me, and she softly sings me some soothing ukulele music.

Photo on 4-28-15 at 3.10 PM


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