Big wave charger Kohl Christensen has nabbed some incredible waves at Pipeline over the years. More so than most people on the planet. He’s rolled in from second reef, pulled into the section at first reef, waiting patiently to get barreled on the inside. Hundreds of times.
But this wave was different. During a powerful New Years swell, Kohl pulled in but something went horribly wrong. According to friends and witnesses, after the wave closed out on him, Kohl either impacted his board or the reef and came up in serious trouble, as lifeguards raced to the rescue.
“Yesterday, at the end of a 2nd reef bomb,” wrote friend Casey Goepel, “Kohl wiped out and hit his head on the reef. He cut his head open and fractured his skull. Thanks to the incredible team of @northshorelifeguardassociation and first responders, Kohl was swiftly rescued and given the best care possible. After successful brain surgery, he’s exceeding all expectations and we’re hoping for a speedy recovery. We are eternally grateful for his surgical team at Queens.”
From social media comments, it sounds as if Kohl will be able to make a full recovery.
Kohl joined our podcast while we were on the North Shore two weeks ago (his podcast drops next week), and talked about creating the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group with partners Danilo Couto and Brian Keaulana in 2011. “Realizing that not all of us have those life-saving skills,” Kohl said of the class inspired by the death of Sion Milosky, “we created a condensed course that’s not too long, that’s affordable and you get a ton of information and it’s really rewarding to see how it’s grown over the last eight years and the lives it’s changed and saved.”
Our thoughts are with Kohl and his family as he works to heal up. Stay safe out there.