Blog post by ambassador Declan Bradley
It was the 17th of April, the last day of the school holidays. I was smart and left a good portion of my homework to do that day. The surf was pumping and I thought I would go for a surf before knuckling down to my homework.
With howling westerly winds and a sweet swell pushing in, a local wave began to work. It was a nice high tide, wind faintly cross shore holding up the lefts nicely. In no time we had our wetties on, boards waxed and down the stairs to the water. We paddled out with a bit of a current but this was all right as most people got taken with it. The first wave I got was a sweet double up, taking off into a fun little cover-up to a nice wall. This was followed with two more fun little tubes, I was frothing out at this point, couldn’t ask for anything more. The surf continued to build, the waves kept getting better and better. I caught a left, and felt super pumped from the waves earlier as I raced down the line. Before I knew it, I was coming down from the air, with my board stuck to my feet. Just as I was about to land the lip bounced back up. Next thing I know, the bottom of my right leg felt like there were no bones in it. It flexed sideways and I felt a horrific sharp pain shrieking up my leg.
The next wave took me to the shore. I was in the shallows, with the waves rolling over my head, acting like a kid, splashing about in the water. The next obstacle was getting across the sand. I was well in pain at that moment. Looking around for help, I saw my mum and her partner at the top of the stairs walking the dog. I waved my arms signalling for help but my mum had other ideas and thought I wanted her to come in the water. This was frustrating, as it took a few minutes until it clicked that something was wrong. With her help she got me up onto the sand, a few metres from the water line. I looked at my wetsuit and I saw a large bump above my ankle. At this point I did not want to know what lied underneath my wetsuit. My mum’s partner David ran a good 2km to get the car. My mates, now realising I had been out of the water for some time, came in. With Jack and Harry’s help we slowly made it up the staircase and down the path to the car park. Once David arrived, we went straight home. The car trip was rather uncomfortable, with each bump in the road a shock of pain went up my leg. On a chair in the middle of my driveway and with a much awkward effort we managed to take off my wetsuit before heading off the emergency. Five hours in emergency, two x-rays and a cast later I left knowing I have a broken ankle, a clean break in my fibula. I then had six weeks in the cast followed by rehabilitation !
That’s how I spent my last few hours of the holidays, broken ankle and no homework done.
From this I have learnt how to cope without the water for a long period of time, (4 weeks so far) and wow it is getting to me. I just keep watching Clay Marzo videos, as I can’t get enough of how he surfs. With all this extra time on my hands because I can’t surf, skate and play footy, my marks at school have gone up as well. I’m spending heaps of time at home with my family which is unusual for me.
From all this I have really learnt to appreciate the everyday things I do, whether this is going for a surf or skate or even just being able to get onto the school bus by walking up the steps. Being on crutches you realise how hard life can become. Little tasks I do now become a great effort so it definitely does put things in perspective.