Posts Tagged With: Surfing

Surfing Nicaragua

It has been a few years since I almost decapitated myself and received forty stitches to put my upper lip back together surfing in Malibu.  But strange as it may seem, I was eager to try it again. We were in the surf capital of Nicaragua, San Juan del Sur visiting with my childhood friend, Sean and his parents. I figured this was the best place to put the past behind me and jump back on the waves.


Playa Remanso

There were five of us on this excursion; myself, Helen, Sean, his daughter Vega and her B.F., Tabor. We bumped down a dirt road that ended at a picturesque beach tucked into a small bay bordered by palm trees. There were two small open air beach shack cafes that sold beer and food and rented surfboards. They were just as you would imagine, thatched roof, hammocks, laid-back teenage bartender and Reggae playing over the dated sound system. They made the best grilled fish tacos we had all trip. This was our one beach day; we had the beach (& the bar) to ourselves. This place was perfect.

Macuá cocktail at the beach shack


Sean and I got geared up and headed out into the water, thankfully the surf was small, as, turns out, I am a rubbish surfer.  Even just waiting for the right waves to come in, I can barely even sit on the surfboard. As the perfect set rolls in, I fall off.

My paddling ‘technique’ to catch a wave was a frenzy; frantically flailing my arms, splashing about and basically going nowhere. Miraculously, somehow I would occasionally catch a wave, but standing up was a different matter. I would get to my feet, off-balance, and instantly tumble head-over-heels into the water.

It’s slightly embarrassing and somewhat surprising given I have spent years of my life snowboarding; it obviously doesn’t translate over. Even Vega and Tabor were able to stand on the surfboard longer than me and they are nine and ten years old.

Surf’s Up!


Anyway, I don’t care I’m a crappy surfer; it was a great beach day hanging out with a good friend on empty foreign beaches. And best of all no injuries – I am just glad I’m still trying, even after my surfboard lobotomy!

(Pictures and stories from my Malibu surf accident: not for the squeamish.

Categories: Nicaragua - February 2015 | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Surfing is fun

Helen and I have been in L.A. with Helen’s family; Helen’s mom and sister and sister’s boyfriend from England, her brother and his family from Australia, the first time they have all been together for over five years.

We all went out for a surf lesson on a beautiful southern Californian day. Everyone was having a great day until …. I was paddling out from the shore and I saw my brother-in-law David catch a wave in front of me but far off.

He fell in front of me but still quite far away. I don’t remember but I guess the surfboard shot out from underneath the wave and the nose of the board hit me square in the lip. I came up from underwater knowing I had been hit and did a quick inventory;  teeth all intact, nose not broken but there was a lot of blood in the water and something was obviously not right.



I looked up to see David; he took one look at me and his eyes grew to the size of frisbees and he started flapping his arms like a chicken, yelling “Chris is hurt, Chris is hurt!”.

I looked over to see Helen, mouth wide open and pale as a ghost as if she was about to faint. At this point Ian the surf instructor got to me. “Jump on the board mate, I’ll get you ashore.”  I got on the surfboard stomach first, he jumped on the back of my legs and we rode a wave to shore. Ian sat me down on the beach, asking me my name and if I knew where I was. He took a long look at my wound, reassuring me it would be fine with a few stitches. I felt dazed, but fully conscious and it actually didn’t hurt that bad. I was trying to keep calm to stop the onset of any shock. It was a good thing I was unable to see the injury, as staying calm then would have been a lot more difficult.



We got to the car quickly and the emergency clinic was only a few hundred yards away. Ian knew the doctor by name, I don’t think this was his first rodeo with an injured student. Doctor Ferguson is the kind of doctor you would expect in Southern California. A woman in her early fifties, full make-up, long eyelashes, gold-rim glasses, tight white cords, a sparkly top and her small terrier running around the office. She was great. I liked her from the beginning and had full confidence in her. At this point I saw myself in the mirror for the first time, kind of shocking to say the least. I couldn’t figure out which piece of flesh was my lip or if it was even there at all. The nurse said “Wow, that’s one of the top ten lacerations I’ve ever seen.” Not the top ten list you want to be on. Three hours later and forty stitches total on the inside and outside of my lip and I was done.

Back at the house the Tapping clan took very good care of me;  doting on me and making sure I had everything I needed. I’ve started my new diet of soup, yoghurt, vicodin and beer through a straw, no solid food for a while. Surprisingly it doesn’t hurt all that much. My face is sore, swollen and slightly discolored from the bruising, but it has been 48 hours and is healing very quickly. The biggest problem I have now is that I can’t keep my mouth shut so I’m constantly drooling. I’m in good spirits, Its going to turn out fine. Can’t do much about it now, damage done. What’s one more scar anyway.

I have to say I am feeling a little cursed these days, within two months I have blown out my knee (ACL) snowboarding and broken my face surfing. I hope these things don’t come in threes. I’ve considered wrapping myself in bubble wrap every time I leave the house.
Categories: Americas, California - April 2011 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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