Surfer breaks leg after riding potentially record wave
A PROFESSIONAL surfer has been left in hospital with a broken left after riding a wave, hailed as "probably the biggest ever ridden in Australia".
The 18m wave which rose off the coast of Margaret River, Western Australia left pro-surfer and stand-up paddleboarder Justin Holland injured after he was towed onto it by jet ski.
The wave swelled on Saturday morning at Cow Bombie, an open-ocean reef break about 2km off the coast from Grace Town, which is a popular surfing destination just over 200km south of Perth.
Jamie Mitchell, a world champion stand-up paddleboarder towed Holland onto the wave, which Holland reportedly rode for several seconds before being immersed by whitewater which hit him severly, breaking his left femur.
Mitchell then rushed the surfer back to shore where he was taken by ambulance to Margaret River Hospital from where he was transferred for surgery.
Mitchell told Guardian Austraila: "I pulled him onto the wave, so I was pretty excited.
"But when he came up and I went to get him he was just saying his leg, his leg. His leg didn't get out of the leg strap quickly enough, and I think that's what broke it."
Jamie Scott, a photographer who witnessed the incident, told news channel PerthNow: "It was huge, with probably a 60 or 70 foot (18-21 metre) face. It was probably the biggest wave ever ridden in Australia. Justin got to the bottom of it and then it cleaned him up."
Holland, a 35-year-old father of two, had surgery which involved putting a titanium rod in his leg on Saturday night.
Between them, Mitchell and Holland had travelled thousands of miles in order to catch the huge waves travelling inland through the Indian Ocean.Mitchell flew from his home in Hawaii for Margaret River and Holland travelled from his home in Kingscliff, New South Wales.
Holland is not the only surfer to dice with danger while riding the waves. On Wednesday, The Independent published video footage of an Australian surfer who captured the moment he was circled by a great white shark while surfing at Manly Beach in Sydney.