A naked Laird Hamilton saves tow-partner

Associated Press, WAILUKU, Maui — Big-wave star Laird Hamilton used his head and his shorts to rescue a surfing partner after he wiped out in a monster wave.

Hamilton stripped naked to tie his surf trunks into a tourniquet after Brett Lickle suffered a large gash on his left calf from a surfboard fin in a wipeout caused by what Lickle said was an 80-foot wave.

Lickle, 47, who called the rescue “the most intense thing I’ve been through,” was recovering Wednesday in Haiku with 50 staples in his calf.

Lickle was cut by the fin of a board attached to the watercraft he and Hamilton were using Monday to reach big waves at a surf spot called Outer Spreks.

“If ever you’re going to find a 100-footer, it’s there,” Lickle said in Wednesday editions of The Honolulu Advertiser.

Lickle said he was trying to stay ahead of a monster wave, but it crashed down on him. He reunited with Hamilton about three-quarters of a mile offshore. After tying the tourniquet, Hamilton swam “like a bat out of hell” for about a half-mile to recover the watercraft and return to his injured partner.

By then, they were in calmer waters but worried that Lickle’s blood would attract tiger sharks.

Lickle, a member of the group that pioneered tow-in surfing and foot straps on surfboards, said the huge waves were closer together than usual.

“There were the biggest waves that any of us have seen,” said Buzzy Kerbox, a Maui big-wave surfer.


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