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Lifeguards called it the worst sunburn they’d ever seen. Photo: Reddit

The Inertia

A Huntington Beach surfer was transported to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach on Monday after sustaining what lifeguards explained was the most serious sunburn they’d ever seen. 

Tyler Callahan, 22, was surfing the north side of Huntington Beach Pier Monday morning with his friend, Sam Fox, 22, for several hours until Fox yelled to Callahan he was going to take a wave in.

“It was about 9 am at that time, and by then we’d already been out for two hours,” explained Fox. “I had to get to work so I signaled to Tyler, and after a minute or two I took the next wave I could to shore.”

Fox waited for his friend on the sand for over thirty minutes. “I was worried about getting to work on time, so I waved to him and left,” he said.


“As soon as Sam left, it was like the ocean just turned off,” said Callahan from his Newport Beach hospital bed. “It was absolutely pumping, then, nada. And I wasn’t about to paddle in, so I just waited. And waited. And waited.”

One hour turned to two, two turned to three, but still, not a single wave came to Callahan.

“The worst part was I looked around to my left and right and saw guys catching waves, but nothing was coming to me,” said Callahan. “A few times, though, I did paddle for one but didn’t manage to catch it. That was the most frustrating part.”


Local lifeguard Buzz Kenworthy, 35, says he watched Callahan’s plight and saw him splash the water on numerous occasions out of frustration, but didn’t think to make a rescue. “I can’t understand for the life of me why the kid didn’t just paddle in,” he said.

By 3 p.m., six hours after his initial decision to catch a wave, Callahan managed to muscle into a closeout then flop to his belly and ride to shore.

“It wasn’t the wave that I wanted, but it did feel good to catch something,” he said.

When he got to the beach, though, he felt light-headed and his face and neck were painful to touch.

“When I saw him walk past the lifeguard tower, I knew something was wrong,” said Kenworthy. “His face was literally glowing red – like he just surfed Fukushima or something.”

Kenworthy stopped Callahan and began to treat the burn, but ultimately Callahan was transported to Hoag Hospital’s emergency room for further treatment.


“That was the worst sunburn I’ve ever seen in my life,” Kenworthy said.

Despite the severity of the burn, physicians are confident Callahan will make a full recovery.

Editor’s Note: This is a work of satire.


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