Rattled. One week ago. For a moment I thought that this might be my final vision. Sounds dramatic but seconds earlier I’d been in aquatic agony deep beneath the surface. I was running out of time, unable to move my arms. I thought about Amy and our little boy as I kicked off the reef and struggled to the surface. I’ve surfed this wave hundreds of times…maybe a thousand…but it almost got me. It had been a great swell, the best of the season so far and this was the last day …I was tired but stoked, needed a rest but stubbornly determined to ‘make the most of it’ and surf till dark. On auto pilot I turned on a wide set and pulled in from takeoff. The tube was a beautiful cylinder of sunset golds. I saw someone looking in over the shoulder, I could see our boat, and a fluffy pink cloud on the horizon, then I realized that the section ahead was twisted with backwash and I considered bailing backwards into the foamball, but I held my line…a second later I was clipped and I fell down into the pit whiplashing my neck, followed 100th of a second later by my board which hit me with incredible force in my upper chest and then a glancing blow to my chin. The pain was electric and my lungs emptied of air. My right arm went numb and my left was weak and tingling. Underwater I hit the reef which was lucky as it gave me something to push up from. As I neared the surface I was thinking about the next wave, praying that there wasn’t one but if there was that I’d have time to get a breath of air before it hit me. I reached the surface, sucked in a big lung full of air. I literally couldn’t move my arms. I’ve never felt so vulnerable. I scrambled onto my board and kicked towards our boat which was still 100 meters away. I tried to shout to my friend who was shooting photos in the water maybe 50 meters away, but my voice was weak and he was wearing a helmet (and earplugs) and no one noticed my situation. I knew that if another wave came I was in big trouble. Thankfully the ocean went completely flat and I drifted with the current to our boat. The deckie didn’t notice that I was in trouble until I reached the boat and he had to pull me up the ladder.