Disclaimer: the images get way worse than this. Frame: Ryan Simalchik
Graphic: Jersey Man Nearly Loses His Nose In Sand-Dredging Tube Incident!
They breed 'em different in the Garden State.
A few days ago, I was shocked and nauseated by an Instagram post from my Garden State pal Rob Kelly.
In the video, we see two men looking at the back of a camera, one of whom is shirtless and has blood in his beard. As the iphone moves closer, we see that the shirtless man's nose has a medieval gash on its right side. He then wiggles the distended flesh like a child's loose tooth and proclaims, gruffly, "Good day."
You can watch the video I'm talking about below. But be warned, the rest of this story features extremely graphic content. If you're no good with carnal dismemberment, you might want to click away.
But it's a damn good story.
After seeing this post, I called up Voldemort's newly appointed heir, Andrew Gesler, who happens to be one of New Jersey's best surfers of the past 20 years. Gesler's also one of the toughest dudes you'll meet, and in true hockey-country fashion, he's missing one of his front teeth. But that's a story for another day.
Below is Gesler's account of the nose-gashing incident.
That day was pretty much standard operating procedure in New Jersey.
The south wind blew pretty hard, so I chased the waves up north with Rob Kelly. The wind didn’t switch offshore until midday, so we took our time and checked a few spots. That's when we heard about a freshly dredged beach where Mike Gleason was getting some dreamers. When we got there, we didn't even check it—just paddled straight out. The compact sand made the waves extra grindy and below sea level. They were super fast and all rights, so it was tricky on my backhand.
I got in a habit of packing mine a little too deep, because I’d rather be on that end of the barrel than the other. I think I was like 0-for-35 that day. The wave it happened on was just another one that got ahead of me. I knew it was impossible, but I went for it anyway. I set a line and waited for the foam ball smash the bottom of my board, then jumped forward and did my little twist to avoid hitting the sand in the wrong way. Then I prepared to accept the punishment. This one just happened to be a lot worse than all the others.
While I was laying with my back on the sand, I felt something tomahawk me in the face, and I knew my nose was broken. Right away I thought of Zack Humphreys* and his eye, so I checked my vision and it was all good. Then I had to duck dive a wave, and I felt my nose moving in a way it shouldn’t. At the same time, a hot rush of blood started running down my face, so I started screaming, "Help! I broke my nose!"
Sam Hammer was the first guy who reached me, and I told him to give it to me straight. He said something along the lines of, "You're fucked bro. I don't wanna freak you out, but you've gotta get in now." So I rode a wave in on my stomach, and Mike Gleason grabbed a towel from our filmer Ryan Simalchik and covered my nose.
Mike was like, "We gotta go to the hospital, let's get in the car!" But I was like, "Wait, I'm fine, let me just look at it.” So I went to the car mirror and...it was some Men in Black shit. I thought there was gonna be a little alien crawling out of me or something. So I told Ryan to get the camera out, because I wanna show this to my great grandchildren.
Finally we went to the hospital and the plastic surgeon wanted to operate, but I didn’t want to go under, so I watched the whole thing unfold. He cleaned the wound and then put this tool in my nose to push against the bone and correct the break. That was the only painful part of the whole experience. Then the doc had to peel my nose across my face so he could stitch the inside. I could see my nose touching my cheek beneath my eye. About halfway through, I asked him, “So what’s the [stitch] count so far?” He just laughed and said, "I guess I lost count man.”
My nose was already jacked up and crooked from all those "fun times" back in the day. But I told the doc to give me the Brad Pitt treatment, so I think I might launch a modeling career after this.
Modeling career withstanding, Ges has already achieved great notoriety for his mangled beak, mostly in the form of this Drewtoonz rendering:
*Zack Humphreys is another New Jersey pro who lost his eye when he was whacked in the head with his board a few years back. He still charges waves like this (and has a great sense of humor about the whole thing).