“Everything hurts,” he says.
All photos Jamie Scott
As the rest of Australia enjoyed Fathers Day lunch on Sunday, Jamie Mitchell found himself pinned to the bottom of the Indian Ocean, unable to move his arms, pretty sure he’d broken his back and unsure of what would happen next.
10 seconds prior, Mitchell had wheeled his 10’10’’ around and stroked into a thick, heavy, absolute beast of wave at Cow Bombie.
A day prior, he’d been shoved out the door of his Hawaiian home by his girlfriend after debating whether to chase the swell and more importantly, leave his four week old daughter to do it.
“I was right on the fence on this call,” Mitchell said.
“I’ve really grown to love Cow Bombie so I was keen, but unsure as well. Luckily, my girlfriend is super supportive. She put me straight and told me I’d be regretting it if I didn’t go. Most of all it was important for me to see how I’d go leaving my daughter to do this. I wanted to have that feeling and confidence in check before the Hawaiian winter comes along.”
And so it was Mitchell found himself way out to sea on Sunday, alone, ducking and weaving under grey skies while god knows what circled the waters below.
His eye locked on to a thickening dark mass and he did what he always does…went.
“It was one of the waves I’ve been hunting for out there,” Mitchell said.
“I was in a real good position, but it was real steep and late takeoff. I got hung up and inadvertently jumped into in lip and then got sucked over, felt that awful weightlessness and free feel. And when I eventually hit the bottom, I honestly thought I’d broken my back.”
The full force of the deep Indian Ocean swell drove Mitchell straight down to Cow’s cold, dark underbelly and the same indestructible human who survived that god-awful wipeout at Belharra found himself in serious trouble.
“My body went completely numb, I couldn’t move my arms, my ears felt like they were going to pop and I could just feel myself going down deeper,” he says.
“It felt like forever, but eventually the feeling came back to my arms, even then it took a couple swipes before I get to the cord on my vest. I came up seeing stars but luckily I had a mate (Keely Bremmer) doing water safety, even then I had a lot of trouble pulling myself up on the sled.”
And that was that. Despite the drubbing and potential injuries, Mitchell is claiming the trip a worthy one, a way of getting the monkey of his back and leaving him free to move into the Hawaiian winter full of confidence.
Ahead of him lay a four-hour drive to Perth, layover in Sydney before the final leg of the gruelling journey back to Hawaii.
“Everything is really starting to hurt,” Mitchell told Tracks of the as yet unknown extent of his injuries.
“If I’m lucky I might have time to have it looked at in Sydney, otherwise it’ll have to wait till I get home. It’s going to be a long day.”