Surfing Injuries | What Happens When Surfing Goes Wrong

Bet you can't make it all the way through this gnarly gallery...

Sh*t! Keala Kennelly got hit pretty hard…

The Billabong Pro is going down in Tahiti right now, and the waves are going off! The riders are catching Teahupo’o, notoriously one of the most dangerous waves in the world.

Surfing? Dangerous? You just fall in a bit of water if you bail, right? Wrong! There’s reef, boards, debris and all kinds of bad stuff in the water, just waiting to fuck you up.

In honour of this high risk, high reward comp, we’ve searched for the gnarliest surf injuries around.


Keala Kennelly found the reef in a brutal way while riding Teahupoo and the Billabong Pro.

Here’s a shot taken surgery, where she needed 51 stitches.


This dude almost had his heel completely sliced off by a fin.


This fella’s grin suggests he still has the endorphins pumping almost as much as the blood.


Aussie ripper Dean Bowen also got a taste of the reef, courtesy of Teahupo’o in Tahiti.


This nasty looking wound was caused when the rider collided with her board. It kind of looks like the Hollister logo. Maybe a sponsorship deal is the silver lining to this particular cloud.


The fin on this chaps board caught his leg. Luckily, it missed two tendons, and artery, and a main nerve by just a few millimetres.


Eight hours of surgery was required to save this dude’s eye after he caught it with his fin.


Owner of the Mr Surfy cafe on Polzeath beach in Cornwall, Steve got scalped by some other guy’s board. “This guy just bailed…. jumping off his board sent it flying straight at me.” said the Cornwall native.


A collision with his board while surfing near Swansea in Wales temporarily left this dude with those David Bowie-like different coloured eyes.


As if the slashes from the reef aren’t bad enough, it also ripped away a good chunk of flesh.


The fella who sustained these reef slices did do on a pretty calm day. It just goes to show that while waves may come and go, the reef is constant.


It’s bad enough splitting your skull on the sea bed, but then the medics come along and use 12 staples to patch you back together!


More lacerations, thanks to the Tahitian body shredder.


This guy got battered by reef in Porthleven in Cornwall. It’s a spot so notorious for destroying surfers’ bodies that the local council have proposed installing two webcams covering the area in a bid to cut down the injury count.


This surfer got his throat cut by his own board after getting thrown around at a spot he’d surfed a million times before. Three pints of blood and over 100 hundred stitches later, he can finally eat again without peas falling back on to his plate.


What looks worryingly like a kebab-house pizza topping is actually a huge slash to a surfer’s thigh. The rogue fin that created this gaping wound missed the femoral artery by just a couple of centimetres.


This mess was caused when the dude strayed off course while surfing at the beautifully monikered Sunset Beach in Hawaii and ended up dashed on the shallows of the rather less idyllically named Boneyards.


Some textbook board-tip-to-the-nose action going on here.


Mark Morlock almost lost his eye following an attack by another surfer. Morlock cut across a fellow surfer at Snapper Rocks in Australia, causing the other guy to bail. Five months later, the same dude confronted him, asked “Do you remember me?” before letting his board go from between his legs, launching it straight into Morlock’s face. 12 hours of microsurgery later, and the eye was saved. Be nice to each other out there, please.


A rogue fin sliced straight through the sole of this unfortunate surfers foot.


Cole Taschman, 16, shows his injuries after being bitten by a shark Sunday at Bathtub Beach in Jensen Beach.

So, you’ve managed to dodge the reef, avoid the fins, and swerve the wayward boards. That’s when you remember there are still sharks to contend with. A five foot Reef Shark gave this dude a sharp reminder.


After this guy lost his job, and then got attacked by a stingray, he decided to cheer himself up by going out surfing. His luck was definitely out though, as a wave closed out, which caused his board to smack him in the face, almost slicing his nose clean off. Ten shots of anaesthetic, 25 stitches, and a nasal cast later, this surfer is now back in the water. We hope his fortunes have turned.


The tip of this young surfer’s board was the culprit of this grizzly attack, splitting his upper lip completely open, all the way up to his nose.


This guy slashed his back sliced open in a somewhat ironically named spot. He was surfing on the island of Nusa Lembongan, just off Bali. The island has a spot perfect for people to get photos of their friends surfing. It’s name? Lacerations.


This mangled-looking foot was the result of a shark bite that took place at the Ponce de Leon Inlet, Florida. The surfer was paddling in just four feet of water when the attack happened.

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