Billy Kemper, the reigning Pe’ahi Challenge champion, thinks Tom Dosland is lucky to be alive. “I would say 99.9% of the people in the world would’ve died right there,” Kemper said. He’s talking, of course, about the (un)official wipeout of the year, the best of the worst, the BIG one. He’s talking about Tom Dosland’s cartoonish free-fall from a liquid skyscraper out at Jaws.
He’s like Wile E. Coyote chasing the road runner off a ledge, hanging in the air momentarily until gravity, or in Tom’s case his leash, yanks him violently in a beautiful display of carnage.
But where Billy Kemper and most of the world thought this wipeout would make any sane surfer shy away from the ocean for a while, Dosland is all smiles. In fact, he got some sort of sick pleasure out of it. He actually gained confidence from it, instead of crippling in fear.