A well-known professional surfer from Maui is recovering at the hospital after getting into some trouble off Oahu’s North Shore.
Emergency officials say Dusty Payne was surfing at a surf spot known as Backdoor when he wiped out.
Surfers say Payne was underwater for five waves, or approximately one minute and 20 seconds.
“We knew it was Dusty. When he was paddling, we knew it was him. He was the only one that went on that wave. There was nobody before him or after him,” said surfer Keoki Saguibo.
Surfline was broadcasting live when it happened. Payne could be seen on the wave before being swallowed by the water. He slammed onto the reef below.
“From what I’d seen, it looked like a typical wipeout, but it wasn’t. It was a lot heavier,” Saguibo said. “The waves and where the reef was, and where it was breaking, it’s a lot more dangerous than what it usually is.”
Fellow surfers and photographers helped rescue the 26-year-old and brought him to shore.
“When I got to him and pulled him out of the water, right when I pulled him out, blood was everywhere. Then I looked at his face, and I could barely recognize him,” Saguibo said. “When you know it’s that bad, my instinct was to learn what I’ve learned from the North Shore lifeguards and everything, I put that into effect and I’m glad I did what I did.”
Saguibo says Payne was unconscious until he got to the beach, then became responsive a couple minutes later. Lifeguards stabilized him until an ambulance arrived.
He was hospitalized with multiple injuries and remains in serious condition.
Payne recovered from back surgery to win the 2017 Pipe Invitational in December, earning a spot in the main Billabong Pipe Masters, where he finished in 25th place.