Keala Kennelly, a female pro surfer who is not—far as we know—a con artist, went under during a ride in Teahupoo, Tahiti at the end of August. She hit the reef so hard that the subsequent surgery was necessary in part to remove coral from her face. Video from the wipe-out was just released on Tuesday.
The picture below shows her in the hospital just after the injury, and before she was stitched up. The wound has since improved quite a bit. But, this photo: I learned from Kennelly's Facebook page (which has a few other gruesome photos, if you can handle it) that surfers will call something like this "gnarly" with zero irony. We agree that it is gnarly.
Kennelly posted on Twitter last week that she's had all 51 stitches removed, and she expects to be back in the water before too long. In an interview with Surfline this week, she says that the offending wave was "pretty regular-looking." She continues, in fluent surf-speak:
I took off and it kind of had a bit of bump that kept me from pulling into the barrel straight away. I had to make some adjustments and then saw that the next section was going to barrel so I bottom-turned and parked it in the barrel. I traveled for a bit, had to negotiate the foam-ball and that may have thrown me off and made me have to draw a higher line. I thought I was coming out but the lip just caught me in the head and threw me straight into the reef before I even realized what happened.
The water patrol scooped me up so fast that nobody in the water even realized I was hurt... The cut was all the way to the bone, dangerously close to my right eye and there was reef inside that needed to be removed.
This concludes our surfing coverage for the next decade or so. Have a great lunch!