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Close READER POLL 2017
We promise this won't (really) hurt.

Wanna win a new surfboard? We have a custom Chilli ‘Black Vulture’ to gift (plus all the trim you’d expect from a premium dealer). To be in the running, just answer a few questions for us. It won’t take long.

Russell Bierke’s First Session Back After Injury

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Russell Bierke’s First Session Back After Injury

“I remember feeling really euphoric, like I was in a dream almost.” This is how Russell Bierke recalls his almost life-threatening wipeout he suffered in six-metre big surf last April. Surfing with several friends outside of Bells after the WSL event wrapped up, Russ was knocked unconscious by his board while bailing. He was saved by the quick actions of some friends and speedy drive back to shore. But even back on land, things for Russell looked grim. He briefly recalls moments alternating between wearing an oxygen mask and puking litres of water.
 
It was hard to assess the extent of the injury from the panic of the water and shore. At hospital, however, doctors saw Russ’ chin had drilled through the five layers of his six-ounce 9’8”. He spent several days after that on a ventilator in intensive care with his lungs full of water. 
 
O'Neill's By A Thread records Russ’ first day back in the water. When he surfed a bombie far out in the sea. Despite both the psychological and physical recovery process Russ had to endure for several weeks, he had no problem getting back into the groove, tackling those heavy vert drops he’s known for with ease. See for yourself, above.