Big wave surfer Russell Bierke has made a career charging some of the heaviest waves on earth, but recently the Australian was reminded how quickly things can go wrong.
Last week a solid South swell hit the East Coast of Australia, and this saw some of the big-wave spots Bierke grew up surfing come to life. Unfortunately though, he took a bad wipeout, failed to penetrate through the wave itself -- involuntarily bodysurfing it until his arm connected with a sharp piece of reef.
This resulted in a serious laceration which luckily missed an artery and muscle, but required a trip to hospital and a number of stitches. This saw the Hawaiian-born, Australia-raised hellman reminding fans that when it comes to surfing serious waves, it pays to be prepared.
"Always a good reminder to be prepared in serious waves, I feel like some people don't take this place as seriously as they should," he said of the unnamed slab he was surfing this particular day.
In Russel's case, this included keeping a tourniquet on his jetski so that it was ready to go. "When it first happened there was a lot of blood. Ended up not needing it and loosening it when we got back to the beach, but being so close to the artery and so far from shore I was glad to have it there," he said on his Instagram account.
While this injury only puts Bierke out of the water for ten days, it could have been a whole lot worse. It's crazy to think that, by his standards, this wave isn't especially challenging -- the last time Bierke was in the headlines, he'd ridden a monster barrel at jaws, and has developed a reputation as one of the most fearless chargers on the planet.