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Tanker surfing, as it has long been portrayed in social media, isn’t all soft-tops and sunshine. Yes, the waves can be big-ish, and fat, and fun. When they’re in open water, at least. But when tanker waves push into river mouths or between jetties, they can act like a tidal bore, sending water ripping along the banks, over sharp rocks and any other debris that may have been left around by fishermen or the like.
Just ask Texas-based longboarder Nathan Floyd, who recently got dragged for the ride of his life by tanker surf. Floyd, who I reached out to but have yet to hear from, works at Wind and Wave Watersports in Corpus Christi, Texas (we did talk with the peeps at the shop). Corpus is a lovely enclave on the Gulf Coast and surfers living there mostly rely on wind and hurricane swell. So surfers, as they often do, get creative. Things went wrong for Floyd – who was recently riding tanker surf next to a rock-strewn shoreline – when he fell.
He shared that story as a tanker surfing PSA of sorts. You can read the full caption above but this nugget would take any surfers breath away who’s been washed into a bad spot, which is most of us:
The last wave I was riding took a 90-degree turn and pushed me against the shoreline I was surfing along. These were absolutely the most frightening moments of my life. Shortly after the video clip ends, I was blasted off my board and dragged along the rocky shoreline for roughly 50 yards or more. It felt like an eternity. I was caught in what I describe as a mini tsunami. The entire bay was rushing like a tidal bore behind me, chasing me and crashing. Relentless energy surging across the rocks, while the water piled up and intensified in strength. I was bouncing off boulders and holding my breath as I was rag dolled underwater. I knew I was in an extremely f*****-up situation, and protecting my head was my number one concern. I’ve experienced a traumatic brain injury before, and it felt like another one was just a blow away. I was praying I didn’t get impaled, stuck in a cave, or dealt a death blow to the head. I eventually was able to claw myself out of the raging current by dragging my feet and hands to try and slow myself down and break free from the waves’ stranglehold. This could have ended in a hundred different outcomes. Although I was beat up, bruised, bloody, and shaking from adrenaline, I was able to climb aboard the ski and boat with my own strength and (in) shock. I ended up not needing any stitches, and came out rather unscathed compared to other possible outcomes.
Floyd’s feet, as pictured, were extremely beat up following the incident. “Just thankful to still be here in one piece,” he said, “and felt compelled to tell the whole story.”