One of the biggest dangers surfers face - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

One of the biggest dangers surfers face

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By News 8 Reporter Jeff Zevely

LA JOLLA (CBS 8) - Last Saturday, a surfer in Oceanside was flown to the hospital after landing on his head in only a foot of water. That unconscious surfer was rescued by a passerby and another man who performed CPR.

It was at a beach break just north of the Oceanside Pier where a surfer dove off his board head-first and was knocked unconscious last Saturday.

Surfer Danny Comstock heard about the surfer who was Life Flighted to the Scripps Memorial Trauma Center.

"It really opens up your mind to what can happen out there, you know?" Comstock said.

I spoke to the man who pulled that unconscious surfer out of the water. He told me all of the heavy rain that we have experienced this winter has flushed an abnormal amount of water out of the river bed and that's created shallow and treacherous sand bars.

"I've hit the bottom before," surfer Matt Carver said.

Carver says if the waves are good, he doesn't mind if it's shallow.

"Sometimes when it's low tide but it's always a lot funner when it's low tide too so it's kind of worth the risk sometimes. You just gotta be careful when you dive in," Carver said.

Carver and others say the key is to fall flat, and never dive off your board head-first.

"I think it's great practice to cover your head with both arms," Carver said.

Surfer Vince Alessi needed 15 stitches after one wipeout.

"I've got a metal plate and seven screws in my ankle right here," he said.

"He also blew out a knee and broke an ankle trying to pull off an aerial.

"Surfing is very fun but sometimes you need to think about the risk versus reward," Alessi said.

About seven years ago I had a scary surfing accident of my own, hitting my head on a sand bar in about 12 inches of water. The hair was skinned off the top of my head and about eight of my teeth were shattered. I was rushed to the emergency room with a sprained neck and missed about two weeks of work with an injury doctors say they see far too often.

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