Photos: Nick White
Sequence: Billy Kemper Breaks His Pelvis On Mutant Double-Up, Will Likely Require Medical Transport To USA
"It was so violent, it knocked me out, and when I surfaced I was barely conscious. I did everything I could to yell or wave for help but couldn't because my body was seizing."
Yesterday, on a trip to Northern Africa, Billy Kemper fell on a wave as wide as it was tall and slammed the bottom hard.
"I don't even know what happened," Billy recalls from a local hospital. "It was so violent, it knocked me out, and when I surfaced I was barely conscious. I did everything I could to yell or wave for help but couldn't because my body was seizing. I'm lucky there wasn't a second wave."
When Billy finally saw the sequence of the fall, he had this to say:
"Whoa, that's fucked up. The wave was so below sea level, I couldn't keep my outside rail from catching. But man, yesterday was one of the best days of surfing I've been a part of."
And as far as the damage goes...
"As of now, my pelvis is broken. My knee and hip are both in serious pain but not broken so most likely torn ligaments. I'm currently waiting to be cleared to fly and will most likely have a medical transport plane fly me back to the US."
You probably remember when former World #2 Bede Durbidge suffered a broken pelvis at the Pipe Masters, some four or five years back. Bede took 11 months to return to competition, which would be a severe burden for someone like Billy, who is at the zenith of his surfing career. Still, the Hawaiian remains undaunted.
"I haven't made any decisions on surgery yet," Billy explained. "So I'm not sure what the recovery time will be. But I'll come back stronger than ever, I can guarantee that."
The slight irony of this situation is that, for a man who's won Jaws four times and played a hotdog in the hallways of Pipe, Teahupo'o, etc. since a young adolescent, the wave on which he received his most brutal beating veers toward the "playful" side of Billy's warped wave scale.
It would be like Connor McGregor puncturing his lung in a schoolyard tussle.
But that's surfing, isn't it? Regardless of wave size or rider ability, our mortality is always front and center.
We wish Billy the best of luck in his recovery, but if you know Billy, you know he doesn't require luck at all.