At the tail end of last year, Pipeline reminded the surfing community just how dangerous a dance with her can be. In a string of harrowing wipeouts, multiple professional surfers were rushed to the hospital to seek medical attention including Evan Geiselman, Owen Wright, and Bede Durbidge.
Bede in particular suffered a heavy one which threatened to cut his career short. In a Round 3 heat of the Pipeline Masters, the Aussie regular-footer went down while surfing against his fellow Fox teammate Keanu Asing; the aftermath resulted in a shattered pelvis. It was a crippling injury that left the future of his surfing career in doubt.
A month since the wipeout, Bede is back home in Australia and rolling down the path to recovery. The above video from our friends at MySurf.TV shows the longtime World Tour surfer in a wheelchair and talking for the first time about what happened and his battle to return to health.
“Underwater I was freaking out,” Bede says. “[I thought] I was gonna be a paraplegic. When I hit, my legs went numb and just shooting pain. I wriggled my toes and I was just like, ‘Oh, thank god.’ I was just happy with that. I was still getting thrashed around and I could feel my mid-section was loose and wobbly. I knew I’d broken something.”
While in the ambulance, Bede talks about asking for the “green whistle” to quell the pain. In Australia that’s a colloquial term for Methoxyflurane, or a highly concentrated, non-opioid alternative to morphine. Unfortunately for Bede, he had to wait till the hospital for the drugs.
It’s still unclear what Bede’s competitive career will look like once he’s fully back to health. He does mention, however, the Bede Durbidge camp at Hurley’s High Performance Centre, where kids can come to learn from their heroes how to improve at surfing. So maybe there’s a coaching position he’ll ease into? Either way, what a career this guy has had, always nipping at the heels of the competition and surfing with sniper-like precision. We all wish Bede the best.