LANIAKEA, Hawaii (KHON) – The historic surf on Oahu, Hawaii’s north shore attracted some of the world’s best surfers and photographers last week. Dozens of jet skis were out at Himalayas near Laniakea Beach when the unexpected happened.
A monster wave took on a life of its own, and Mike Latronic, a professional surf photographer found himself in the middle of the chaos.
“Everybody’s scrambling, there’s mayhem everywhere,” Latronic recalled. “I was like, I guess we’re doing this, and my friend guns it up the face of this wave and I’m thinking to myself, I can’t believe we just accelerated.”
After landing, tossing, and turning in the water, Latronic was able to hop onto another jet ski and safely make it back to shore. Meanwhile, others did not have such a smooth ride.
“I was just hanging on for dear life off this like broken leather seat thing and squeezing my legs as hard as I could so I would not fall off the back,” said Ryan Moss, a professional surf photographer.
Moss was one of the white jet skis that launched over the wall of water.
“I heard a thud, then I felt a sharp shooting pain and tingling down my legs. I was just like, oh no, this is not happening,” Moss said.
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Lifeguards quickly got a hold of Moss and brought him to shore. He suffered a major spinal fracture from the incident.
“You have a stack of soda cans and when everything falls down and basically compresses, one of those cans is going to squish. So part of my vertebrae, I believe it is just completely crushed,” said Moss.
The surf community has created a GoFundMe account to help Moss through the healing process.
“The support from everyone meant a lot. Just, you know, everyone reaching out, it’s meant a lot to me. It’s like helped me get through this,” Moss said.
Moss went into surgery on Monday and is now on the road to recovery.
“Hopefully, I’ll be out of the hospital in the next few days. Then start physical therapy and start that long road to get back to where I was with everything.”