Of all the unfortunate mishaps that might befall a German holiday-goer in Australia’s Byron Bay, situated on the northern coast of New South Wales, a direct hit by a lightning bolt isn’t the first that springs to mind.
Yesterday morning, however, around 10am, a 34-year old German surfer was pulled out of the water at Suffolk Park, near Byron, after copping several million volts on the head. He was treated by paramedics on the beach before being taken to Tweed Heads Hospital, where he is thought to remain in a critical but stable condition.
The Byron Bay Boardriders had been holding a junior comp just 100 metres from where the man was hit, but organisers called the comp off shortly before the incident, having observed the storm’s approach.
“We noticed all the clouds coming across the water and it hit just like a bomb,” Brett Fasso of Byron Bay Boardriders told ABC.
“It was just like a really strong, radical front. There was lightning. You could barely see the guys in the water from the rain. We were forced to call the contest off because of the extreme weather. We didn’t expect anything [as] dramatic as someone struck by lightning,” he said.
Other surfers to have been struck by lightning? Plus-sized YouTube sensation James “Jimbo” Pellegrine, at greater risk than most due to his larger surface area, was sitting on his porch one night at his home in Bali when an electrical discharge left him half fried.
It was Nyepi, the Balinese Day of Silence, he explained to magazine Bali Belly. “I was just playing a little guitar when I shouldn’t have been, and a lightning bolt came down and picked me up over the stairs and knocked me straight through that fuckin’ window there. Snapped the guitar head, all 12 strings. I’m smoking, the guitar’s smoking…”