Andre Botha, one of the best bodyboarders at Pipeline, broke his back a few days ago in heavy Waimea shorebreak.
A few months ago, South African Andre Botha saved Evan Geiselman’s life at Pipeline. You probably remember it: The Floridian pulled into a closeout, hit his head, and wound up unconscious, enduring a three-wave hold down before surfacing face down. Andre Botha, a professional bodyboarder, along with a few others, dragged Geiselman to shore. Botha administered CPR in the water until lifeguards were able to take over. Then he was taken to Queens Medical Center in Honolulu, where he eventually made a full recovery. Botha was hailed as a hero.
Botha sustained a compression fracture in the T-12 vertebrae, and has been advised by doctors to take at least six week out of the water. This, of course, means he won’t be able to compete in the Mike Stewart Pipeline Invitational, an event which Botha was almost sure to excel in.
Botha, though, doesn’t seem disheartened. “These things tend to happen for a reason,” he said to Riptide Magazine. “It’s just a part of putting it on the line during free surfing. I’m sure there will be plenty of Pipe contests for me in the years to come, just unfortunately not this year.”