Russell Winter is a British hero, an occasional wielder of ornamental swords and the first Euro to qualify for the world tour. Above you see him in 2006, post WCT glory days, a human missile tightly compacted inside the Chopes choob. But back in the year 2000, at the Gotcha Pro Tahiti, as it was then known, Russ had a run-in with the reef and scraped his leg up something rotten. He explaineth thus:
“I was in hospital in Tahiti for four days on a drip, and they said I had to leave Tahiti because I wasn’t getting any better. I was in hospital for ten days in Australia on the Gold Coast, still wasn’t getting better and they said they might have to cut my leg off. Then thankfully it started to heal, and in the end I was OK.”
Russ failed to requalify but was awarded the injury wildcard, and was back on tour the next year.