Laying just north of the Newport Harbor jetty, a solid south swell can deliver massive waves upward of 30feet on the biggest days.
The day that Slyde Handboards team rider & friend Zachariah Zeiger decided to bodysurf the mutant wave, it was just an average day by Wedge standards. And as a seasoned Wedge rider of 7 years Zachariah felt confident in paddling out.
With in moments that all changed...Zachariah Zeiger can remember how, when the wave slammed him into the ocean’s hard, sandy bottom, he could hear bones in his back snap.
"Multiple doctors told me Friday I should be paralyzed. I broke my vertebrae almost in half, while hemorrhaging almost every muscle around my spine. 6 days later as I sit in my hospital room today, I learn I passed all my physical therapy tests. I can walk now. I can move by myself. I brushed my teeth all by myself today. Today I am alive and well. And I am getting out of the hospital today. I get to go home. This has been nothing but a blessing from my God."
The Slyde Handboards team visited his hospital bedside & continues to send good healing vibes his way. Fellow Team Rider Joe Nickerson perhaps said it best in an Instagram post.
"Recently, one of my fellow Slyde Handboards team ryders broke his back at The Wedge doing something he loved. Now, he may not be able to bodysurf Wedge ever again. This is a just a reminder that even though the Wedge is super fun, the danger is real and it could happen to anybody.