Over the weekend, as we’re sure you’re aware, The Titans of Mavericks was run and done – Greg Long took out the Boldest Drop award worth $10,000, and Nic Lamb wrapped up the whole shebang, an accomplishment ringing in at $30,000.

But what you might not have been aware of was a near drowning. Ken “Skindog” Collins, one of the most well-known chargers at Mavericks and a Santa Cruz local, took off on a 35-foot face in the first round and copped a serious annihilation. After being pulled out of the water by a jetski he told the media on-ground that he had nearly drowned. Turns out he had ruptured his eardrum – for those of you who’ve been through that, you’ll know how disorienting it can be. It throws everything off balance.

“I almost drowned. The water hit me,” Skindog told the San Francisco Gate, when asked if the injury happened when he hit the water at such a pace. “I was so disoriented, going in all directions. This is the scariest thing I’ve ever done.

“Things happened fast. So easy, so quick, when the water hit me, it felt like the whole ocean came down on me. I thought I had a concussion at first, I was so dizzy. I’ve never been hit so hard. It was coming down my throat.”

And Skindog wasn’t the only one who was injured from the swell hitting North America – both Albee Layer and Tyler Larronde had to pay to play last week, with a severely bruised spine and a near-broken leg.

This big wave game can be a rough gig – just glad it wasn’t worse. Get well soon Skindog.

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