Brazilian surfers cop a lot of flack, both online and out in the real world.
Almost everywhere you travel in the world there’ll be a crew of frothing Brazilians and a crew of Aussies whinging about them. However, if it wasn’t for this trio of diligent Brazilians at Desert Point earlier this month, the Aussie surf fraternity may well be a man down.
The story, revealing the full details of the accident and subsequent rescue effort, appeared earlier today on The Bali Surf Head facebook page and makes for pretty harrowing reading:
“Aussie surfer Nathan Bartlett would be dead if not for these Brazilians at Desert Point.
Here’s how the drama unfolded according to Photographer Kako Lopes…
“The incident with Nathan happened on the last swell at Deserts on June 16. Nathan was probably the best surfer during that swell, he had already racked up many tubes the day before, and that day too. It was around two o’clock in the afternoon, the tide was full – and I think this is also worth noting – FULL TIDE DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT IS SAFER. ”
“I saw Nathan trying to get into a good wave, but he was very late. The lip held him up and he could not complete the drop. The wave was not the biggest of the day. It was only after another two waves that I could see that the board was floating by itself, he was already far away. I saw bodyboarder Renan Farias come paddling hard towards the board and that’s where I headed too. ”
“Renan was the first to arrive, then me and Usman. Renan grabbed Nathan, we started to swim to the beach, but it was very difficult because of the current. That’s when we saw a fishing boat that Pete Friedman was photographing from. Nathan’s face was disfigured, he was pulseless, getting purple and full of water, I could see we did not have much time. As Renan swam beneath him I decided to try cardiac massage and see if he would support it. It worked. ”
“I started to paddle with one hand and massage with the other. Lots of water came out of his mouth. There was blood everywhere, it was the saddest scene. It took us about 5 minutes to get to the boat. I did not stop the massage at any moment, from there came several surfers, we had difficulty to get him on the boat. I went up on the boat and continued to massage, then he gave his first breath, I could see that the space in his lungs was too small, the breathing too short, so I turned him to the right side, I stopped massaging and I started to pray. ”
“We took him to the nearby bay, got him out of the boat and put him in a warung. At that moment he woke up, recognized me, held my hand tight and asked me not to leave him. Then his brother and his friends arrived. We put him in a car and left for Mataram (closest town to Desert Point). There he was cleaned and given stitches, after two days he was moved to Bali.
“Thanks to God, Nathan is recovering well, the cuts were deep and very close to the eye, but he did not have any problems in the eye, he has no brain damage and his lungs are improving gradually. He broke his nose, but yesterday in Australia they did the last surgery on his nose. Today he is at home with his wife and two children; one two months old and the other two years old. Amen.”
Another potential tragedy averted by the experience and quick thinking of fellow watermen, good work fellas.
Cover photo: @lugarts