Yesterday morning, North Shore resident Mikala Jones received 21 stitches in his lip, chin, and forehead after a bad wipeout while surfing at Off The Wall.
“It looked like a good one at Off the Wall,” said Jones of the wave. “It was doubling up, and I started paddling and I got to my feet and it started sucking up. I was about to slide out and go over the falls or stick it. I was kind of teeter-tottering. I don’t know what happened. I was just watching the implosion. The lip hit and sent the shock wave back at me, and then I just watched that hit my board and all the sudden I was flipping through the air with my board, and I think I hit my fins. I didn’t hit the rails. I didn’t hit the reef. It happened so quick and I popped up, and I was like ‘Fuck.’
It’s just one of those things. It was out of my control.
While Jones’ injury is a relatively common occupational hazard of surfing Pipeline and Off the Wall during winter on the North Shore and he plans to be back in the water after his stitches heal in a couple weeks, it set an especially eerie precedent after fellow REEF team rider Evan Geiselman was hospitalized just one day earlier after a near-death wipeout at Pipeline.
“There’s kind of a weird vibe in the water,” said Jones. “Everyone’s talking about Evan and what happened. My leash broke on my first wave, and I went in for a little bit. I was talking with Kai Otton about it. He was like, ‘Man, I’m not going surfing. Fuck. I’ve got kids.’ You start to think differently about it when you have a family.”
“Everything happens in threes,” said Jones. Evan. Even Shrimpy [Thiago Camarao], who was staying there got pretty raked that evening and hadn’t surfed for two or three days. He hit the reef right after Evan, and he was pretty bruised up. So I was the third person. Things happen in threes, so hopefully that’s over with.”
When you stand up, it’s out of your hands,” said Jones. “It’s up to the universe to want to dish it out.
Jones said that Evan Geiselman’s condition is quickly improving and that Geiselman was able to walk around today. Another source said he was hoping to return to surf at the Volcom Pipeline Pro in January. But the winter season is still young, and with serious swell expected over the El Nino, surfers look to one another to keep safe.
“Everyone just look out for each other,” said Jones. “If someone goes on a gnarly wave, just make sure they pop up and make sure they’re back on their board paddling in or out. People are always going to go hard and you can’t stop them. Everyone’s doing a great job of looking out for one another, and I just hope they keep doing that.”