FIGHTBACK – RUSSELL BIERKE
Posted July 29, 2017
On April 19, in the closing days of the WSL event at Bells, big wave prodigy Russell Bierke got totaled 2km off shore, in 18-foot surf. Knocked unconscious by his board he was saved by the quick actions of his buddies and a fast drive back to shore on a sled. By A Thread is an epic edit of Russ’s first day back in the water after coming out of intensive care. It’s obvious by how hard he surfs and how deep he gets that the accident hasn’t dampened his will to charge.
It was 15-18 on the outer wedge off Bells and Russ and his buddies, with days worth of roaring pits, called the last wave. Russ remembers paddling for the second wave of a set then he’s blank after that. He briefly recalls the moments back on shore, with an oxygen mask on his face and puking liters of salt water.
The story goes, as told by his buddy Ben and Kelly Slater who was also out, that Russ pulled in, got pitted but didn’t come out of the end section. Russ had had his chin drilled through the 5 layers of 6-ounce glass of his 9’8”, leaving a hole that Russ would later describe as looking like someone had taken a baseball bat to his ride and knocked Russ out cold, tethered to the world above the water only by his leash.
He was down there for two waves before Ryan Hipwood saw his board tombstoning and called in his buddy Ben to haul him out. Luckily, a local had a jetski and sled out there, which Ben hauled him onto and with Hippo driving and Kelly holding Russ on the sled hammered it back to the harbor.
After a few days on a ventilator in intensive care with lungs full of water, Russ was back out but it would be a few weeks before he was in the water again. By a Thread records his first day back in the water on a bombie far out to sea. Fast and heavy with vert drops it was the sort of baptism of fire that suits Russ and a good medicine to blow away any jitters left from the accident. “This sort of thing can happen in any size conditions,” said Russ of the accident. “I just need to take it as a freak accident”.
Taking backhand drops, his trailing hand locked on the rail and his knee dropped to stall. Soon after he was nailing a medley of beastly lefthanders. It’s official, Russ is back and raring for a second pop at Red Bull Cape Fear.
Check out Russell Bierke’s first day back in the water after an 18-footer drove his chin through 5 layers of 6-ounce glass and nearly totaled him. Russ is back and going deeper and steeper than ever in this edit, By A Thread! “This sort of thing can happen in any size conditions,” said Russ. “I just need to take it as a freak accident”.
Check out Russ Bierke’s first day back in the water after his near death bail in By a Thread. Smashed through 5 layers of 6-ounce glass on his 9’8”, Russ was pulled out the water unconscious and ended up in intensive care with lungs full of water. By The Thread’s medley of elevator drops, backside barrels, and heavy slabs prove that he’s back, with the Red Bull Cape Fear in his sights.
(c) Towsurfer.com 2017