When you’re mere moments away from smashing your pride and various squishy body parts into amorphous bits, there’s usually that brief reflective moment when time seems to unwind completely. You have a chance to soak it all in—everything slows and you’re able to take in every embarrassing detail of your untimely demise with perfect lucidity. I’ve experienced that moment, typically referred to as the “Oh, S*@t” moment, several times in my life. They mostly occurred during surfing wipeouts (save for one instance of a wicked skateboard accident that resulted in a chipped front tooth and a terrible family photo) that resulted in something painful occurring, either to my pride or to said various squishy body parts. In fact, I could tell you in perfect detail what happened during each wipeout, what mistake I made, or what went wrong with the board (typically it’s the board’s fault, not mine *cough*). I could also tell you what crossed my mind too: it was usually something along the lines of, “WHY?! WHY ME?! THE PAIN—.“ Yeah, something like that.
Surfers and other action sports enthusiasts have similar retrospective moments; it generally comes with the territory (especially since the territory is full of asphalt, speeding cars, and the occasional runaway surfboard). Twiggy Barker from South Africa had his recently at Jaws: Surfline featured Twiggy in their “Greatest Wipeouts of All Times” video. He gives a full account of the violent wipeout, which, for the record, would probably have crushed an ordinary man.
The wipeouts may be brutal, but ultimately, they’re worth it. They test us, sure, but they also reaffirm why we enjoy our sports—for the sheer rush of skirting danger and reveling in gallons of adrenaline. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?