It was a stormy day up north, incoming swell with strong onshore wind. Solid 6 footers were pounding the shore line around Seignosse. And when that happens, surf cars are all driving in the same direction, south, toward Capbreton's sheltered beaches. With always a wave for beginners near the pier and sometimes powerful barrels on hand closer to the bunkers, the choice is yours. That's where Philippe Malvaux, surf coach & contest director, went for a freesurf in the famous Santosha arena. There were some fun 3 foot waves, bit mushy, surprisingly hollow at times but that's so typical of the place. Philippe was off coaching the best french grommets, so he paddled out to join his mates, Patrick Beven, Greg Salaun, Mathias etc.
That's what happened next straight out of the mouth of a fast recovering Philippe Malvaux:
«I had a few waves already and I saw that left coming at me. I knew straight away that the wave was going to double up. I paddled for it and as I was taking off, the white water was already breaking on my back. I knew I wasn't gonna make it to the bottom and I was in for a bit of thrashing...no big deal. I stood up on the board, went half way down the face, dig the nose then dove off in front of the wave. Before fully entering the water, the board popped back up like a cork and hit me in my inner thigh. Coming up, everyone was laughing, so was I and then the sharp pain hit me. I took the next whitewater in sensing that something was wrong. On shore, I couldn't even stand up and ask for helped. I also spotted a big gash in my wetty and blood coming out of it. I freaked out a bit thinking it could be the femoral artery. Next thing, my mates were carrying me up the beach and calling the medics. Patrick Beven blocked me jui jitsu style to look at the wound a bit closer and to prevent me from staring at it too much. The guys from the Santocha Surf Club blocked the wound with a strong band aid having found out that the femoral was not cut. Basically they did all the right things before the ambulance arrived and I went straight into surgery in Bayonne. Doctor said, after having done 10 triple stitches, that I had been lucky: the nose of my board went in between the femoral artery and the saphen vein.
I didn't even asked him how many stitches he put inside, I have been pretty lucky that's what important...
Now it is resting and family time ! »