Just before Christmas, shaper Christiaan Bradley went tow surfing with his Euroglass boss Belly. Halfway through the session the likeable Aussie, and red hot shaper to the stars, pulled in and ended up breaking the femur (that’s the top leg bone and the biggest one in the body). Recovering in the CERS Sports Hospital in Capbreton, Christian talks us through the incident.

“Me and Belly got out there about half three and went past Sancho and Dimitri who were out at Culs Nuls, but the shorey was pretty rad there and I didn’t want to get involved with that, so we went out to look around out the back of Estagnots and Bourdains. After a couple of fat rights, my first left was a good one. I did a couple of turns in and then Belly picked me up and took me straight back out just us a mega set was coming.

It was around 10 foot or so, and I was towed into another good left. I did a couple of turns then I went to pull in.  I thought, ‘Yep, this thing is going to throw right over me.’ Earlier in the year I had a similar wave, but had faded too deep and missed the barrel. At the time Belly was like “why did you do that for?” so I thought that it wasn’t going to happen this time.

I pulled in and thought I had plenty of time, but then the lip just landed square on my head. It hit me that hard, with so much force,  I thought it had compressed my head and my neck and I also felt something in my leg. The wave picked me up and as I rolled, I thought, ‘Shit I’ve done my hip, or dislocated my knee or busted my leg.’ Then when I was still underwater my foot hit me in my face. For and for a split second I thought, ‘Who else is out here? But then went, no, you idiot, that’s your foot, you’ve broken your bloody leg.’

We are no doctors, but that looks pretty broken.

In the foam I came up and grabbled my leg and as it was right next to my face, I knew it was busted. I started swimming sideways, then had to go under another wave and remember holding on to my leg trying to stop it from moving. When I popped up, I saw Belly coming toward me on the ski and he was like, “What happened?” I said, “Well, for starters, I’ve broken my leg.”

I hauled myself onto the sled and ripped off my legrope. I was just on a normal board so God knows what would have happened if I was on my tow board, ‘cause I may have been stuck in the straps. I thought shit this is going to be a long drive back to the harbour at Capbreton, but Belly just fanged it towards shore and beached the ski about 20 metres up. There was loads of people around, so someone called the ambulance and one turned up about 15 minutes later. The weird thing was there was still no pain. Then in the ambulance when they were getting to move me, they gave me some morphine and all was good in the world. It was like the watching the best movie I had ever seen.

Reckon the morphine is working?
Not so happy now, probably because they seem to have grafted an elephant’s leg onto his torso


I then had nine days in Dax hospital. I’d broken my femur much right in the centre. I had a blood transfusion, ‘cause my leg was just massive. They put a titanium rod through the centre of it, with two screws at the bottom and one at the top and that was that.
I’m walking now and have been back in the shaping bay, actually I just made a 10’6” for Alain, and the doctors reckon I should be back in the water taking it easy by summer.”

Christiaan is so good, he can shape on one leg © Timo


One of Christiaan’s first boards back; a 10’6″ for Alain Riou




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