Popular big wave surfer Kohl Christensen suffered a life-threatening injury while surfing in Hawaii last week, and he believes the terrifying incident is now allowing him to see “the world clearer than ever.”
Christensen was surfing on December 31 when his wave spread out too far and came barreling down on top of him, according to Surfer Magazine. The father of two was knocked unconscious during the wipeout.
North Shore Lifeguard Association immediately rushed to the area and pulled Christensen back to shore, and he was then taken to a local hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
Pipe surfer Casey Goepel revealed on Instagram that Christensen “cut his head open and fractured his skull” in the incident. It is unclear whether he hit his head on his surfboard or on a nearby reef.
“Kohl was swiftly rescued and given the best care possible,” Goepel wrote on January 2. “After successful brain surgery, he’s exceeding all expectations and we’re hoping for a speedy recovery. We are eternally grateful for his surgical team at Queens.”
“At this time, Kohl needs to rest and heal. Please send him and his family positive thoughts and good energy as he embarks in a strong recovery,” he continued.
On Sunday, Christensen posted a family portrait to social media and reflected on the scary ordeal that almost cost him his life.
“Dec. 31, 2019, would have been my departure from the physical world,” he wrote. “My last cognitive interaction with my wife, daughters, family, friends and world. If not for the immediate response by my rescuers … I would never have seen 2020 or beyond.”
“Serendipitous as it may sound, I am seeing the world clearer [than] ever. 5 days in the hospital. Finally home after the incredible performance and work by the Queens neurosurgery and trauma team. Removing blood between brain and skull, suturing the ruptured meningeal layers and installing metal plates to correct the fracture,” he continued.
“Now, seeing my daughter’s smiles, laughter and subtle movements. Different than a week ago,” Christensen said in the post. “They change so quickly at this age. Hearing my wife’s voice and watching her gentle movements around our home, our dog’s love and that morning light warm the pictures on the walls. Family, friends. Wow.”
He added: “The prayers and love that flooded in the day of the accident and continue to come are the reason I am still here. Thank you. My reflection on all of this begins.”
According to Surfer Magazine, Christensen is the co-founder of Big Wave Risk Assessment Group, an organization that teaches safety protocols to surfers. The outlet says the group’s lessons likely helped to save the lives of Christensen and other surfers who have experienced similar head injuries at the location over recent years.