The Wedge Has Been Taking Scalps (And Eye Sockets) This Summer
Two local heroes incapacitated by a wave whose risk/reward ratio is all outta whack.
Yesterday at the Wedge, Orange County super-local and the world’s most proficient Surfline Rewind user, Teddy Navarro, took a nasty spill.
After hearing rumors of a potential eye injury, we reached out to Teddy to see how he was doing. The ensuing silence was nothing short of concerning, so we contacted another local surfer who was reportedly in the water with him—Kei Kobayashi.
“Teddy was surfing Wedge and pulled into a closeout and his nose of his board hit him above the eye,” Kei told us.
Kei went onto report that Teddy’s eye socket may have been broken, but that he hadn’t heard much beyond that.
Finally, first thing this morning, Teddy responded.
“Thanks for checking on me, I got my fiancée responding to select messages. I took a board to the eye at Cylinders. Fractured bone socket and some cuts to the eyelids but they saved my eyeball [prayer emoji]. Surgery today,” Teddy’s DM read.
Teddy is no greenhorn at this particular spot. In fact, the right-breaking teepee adjacent to Wedge Proper (known to locals as “Cylinders”) is Ted’s other local spot, right behind his main squeeze, southside HB Pier. At both of these waves, Teddy is an apex predator, constantly snagging the tube of the day and spitting out its bones.
But sometimes bad things happen to good surfers. And unfortunately, Ted’s is not the only recent incident wherein the Wedge incapacitated a highly-skilled local operator.
Just a couple weeks back, the Newport’s preeminent water photographer (and a talented surfer in his own right), Mike Harris, suffered a terrifying injury while swimming in the shorepound. Here’s his account [sic]:
For those unclear as to what happened to me at Wedge this last swell….things were normal Wedge, crazy, unpredictable but fun. There’s a lot of unexposed rocks about 30 feet from the jetty right now and the smaller waves were imploding in about 3 feet of water right where the rocks are. I was shooting with a wide-angle fisheye lens so I needed to get right in the pocket with the guys. It’s all a little blurry, because after the wave hit me and threw me down violently my 30-pound camera housing hit my head and completely knocked me out cold underwater, but then my whole body hit the rocks and my back hit a rock and fractured. I actually blacked out twice underwater. So, I have a major concussion, Super dizzy, whiplash, lots of neck pain, staples in head, tweaked jaw, fractured back, and lots of pain in legs and other places….. but alive.
These incidents go to show that, despite breaking over (mostly) sand, the Wedge remains one of the most dangerous waves in the world today. Or at least one of the most dangerous waves that’s surfed regularly by a large number of people.
From this writer’s point of view—and bear in mind that this writer broke his back at a similar Southern Californian shorebreak a few years back—the risk-for-reward just isn’t there. There are far better waves at which to kill oneself.
We wish Teddy and Mike the best in their recoveries.
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