In August of 2011, everything was coming together for teenage surfer Harley Taich. She had recently made the USA travel team, was fresh off the plane from a trip to Tahiti, and headed into what would have been the start of a breakthrough year for the young competitor. After weeks in the powerful surf of the South Pacific, she was excited to be surfing the barreling wave at Point Mugu for the NVBC Point Mugu Surf Contest in Ventura, even if she was less than thrilled to be competing the day after getting off the plane. She breezed through the early rounds of the event, and scored an 8-point ride on her first wave of the finals. But on her second wave, her whole life changed.
“I was just puking sand. It felt like it was up in my brain. I just kept blowing it out and blowing it out, but it felt like it was never going to stop.”