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Warning. These images are not for the faint hearted. Viewer discretion is essential.

Anybody who's only interaction with surfing was thinking grubby thoughts while watching Baywatch would be forgiven for thinking it's a pretty harmless sport.

You just paddle around on a board, and if you fall off, you land in nice, soft water, right? Wrong.

Surfing is just about as gnarly as it gets. Slams into the water, so science sorts have found, is like being involved in a small car crash.

And when you've got razor sharp reef just inches below the surface of the water, and buffoons firing boards with knife-like fins on the bottom around the waves, you've got a recipe for pain.

And, of course, this is all before you factor in sharks, jellyfish, and locals not wanting you to surf their spots.

Warning. These images are not for the faint hearted. Viewer discretion is essential.

Photo: seabreeze.com

This forum poster on Aussie site SeeBreeze took a fin to the head, leaving him with a long gash from below his ear to near the crown of his head. The near-scalping left him with over 20 stitches and, no doubt, quite a headache.

Photo: carvemag.com

The fin of a retro board is the guilty party that caused this monster gash. Thirteen year old Newquay shredder Jordan Zervas caught a board to the scalp, leaving him with this absolute stinger.

Photo: thesurferspot.com

surfing injuries thesurferspot-com

This reef rash was deep enough to get the blood flowing sufficiently to give this dude a quite unwanted claret scarf. In face, the the blood around his neck, and the sunblock making his face look pale, our hero looks rather like he's already got his halloween costume sorted. He's a zombie surfer, obviously.

Photo: Childs

Aussie surfer Owen Wright is an annoyingly handsome bastard. However, he chipped away from of those good looks the say he got an unwanted close up with some razor sharp reef. Wright was surfing off the Indonisean island of Lombok when things got a bit squirly and he ended up headbuting the deck.

Despite this, not only does her remain better looking than any of us, he's also a zillion times the surfer we are. Give us a break, Owen, alright?

Photo: seabreeze.com.au

With any nasty injury, there's always question whether the victim was unfortunate enough to suffer it in the first place, or lucky it wasn't much, much worse.

This scrape ended up as a pretty horrific flash wound, but the pointy end of a board to the face could easily have cost this chap his eye.

Photo: swellmagnet.com

surfing injuries swellmagnet-com

This gruesome foot would was caused by a a knife-like fin slicing through the side of this foot. Unfortunately, chainmail remains pretty heavy, and susceptible to rust, so the protective properties of a neoprene wetsuit will still have to do, for now at least.

Photo: seabreeze.com

This SeaBreeze forum user was out surging with his thee kids when he got tagged with this gaper. The fin that caused the would was buried so deep that, for a while, he was temporary attached to his board.

Our hero eventually managed to separate himself from his stick, only to find out that the fin had come of the board and remained stuck in his leg. This accident turned out to be a stroke of luck because, as paramedics later pointed out, staying deep in the wound probably stopped the fella bleeding out.

Photo: goldcoastbulletin.com.au

Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast of Australia is famously one of the busiest surf breaks in the world. At it's peak, traffic is so intense that the water can't be seen for boards.

15 year old bodyboarder Caleb Brereton will need little reminding of this. On his first ever trip to Snapper, he collided head-first with the fin of another surfer, and wound up with this gruesome gauge in the top right of his scalp.

It reportedly took doctors four internal stitches, and an extra seven metal staples to close up the bloody cranial gorge.

PhotoL surfline.com

Earlier this year, French pro surfer Jeremy Flores was trying some airs while on a photo shoot for a sponsor. However, things got a little, je ne sais shit, as the French would say, and Flores got pitted big time.

He slammed headfirst into the reef below, causing severe concussion and led to Flores losing two hours of his memory. When he finally surfaced, he apparently had no idea who he was, where he was, what had happened, or who'd won the 2012 X Factor.

Photo: supracer.com
Photo: supracer.com

Back in 2013, World Series SUP champion Kia Lenny caught a fin to the foot, and ended up with this horrific looking gash. After a particularly nasty slam, Lenny emerged from the froth with his right foot a little wider than it was when he started the day.

Photo: surfermag.com

This pair of horribly looking slices were taken out of this dudes armpit by a rogue fin. Fortunately, the deep wounds managed to miss all of his major arteries. It still probably stung a fair bit though.

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