You Are Here: Mikala Jones, Survivor

posted by / Blogs / April 17, 2012

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You Are Here, Nathan Myers

Interview by Nathan Myers
Frame grabs courtesy of Ryan Moss/Reef
 

Vertigo: A type of dizziness where there is a feeling of motion when one is stationary; an intensive sensation of rotation inside the patient’s head.
 

Mikala Jones is lucky to be alive. In his thirty years of surfing around the world, this was the worst wipeout of his life. After scoring covers, spreads, and countless clips at this heavy Indo secret spot, it was time to pay the deposit.

His voice was choked with emotion as he recalled the experience:

MIKALA: “It was big, second reefing and really thick — just me and a couple bodyboarders out in the morning, then Dylan [Longbottom] and Laurie [Towner] showed up mid-morning. I’d already caught one or two, and taken some beatings. Then this one wave came through – a big double up – and I paddled hard for it and just pearled on the drop. When I hit the water I slapped my ear – heard it go, POP – and right then I knew, this is going to be gnarly.

I remembered how at the HIC Pipeline Pro Derek Ho broke his eardrum and got vertigo. Fred Patacchia was paddling out and saw him actually swimming towards the bottom. He had to swim down and grab him. So, I knew if I had vertigo, it was going to be bad.

Right away I got sucked over the falls and landed on my board. I was riding a quad and I broke out three of the boxes, with the fourth box just hanging off. I don’t remember hitting it, but there’s no reef marks on the board and the fins were just all snapped out. I think I may have gotten knocked out for a moment, because the next thing I remember is touching the bottom with my feet. I don’t know…all that happened pretty fast.

With my feet on the bottom, I got a push straight up. I still hadn’t opened my eyes yet, so when I reached the surface I looked around and everything was just going in circles. I barely got my head up for air and I saw the next ten-footer barreling down on me. I managed to scream “help” and then Boom, the lip landed right on me. Underwater everything was going in circles. I grabbed my leash and started to shimmy myself up. I don’t know how long I was under, but I got up just before the next wave hit. Again, everything was going in circles. I yell out again, “Help!” and then the third wave hits me. This was about a 6-foot double-up, and this was the gnarly one.

I’m underwater doing summersaults and I can’t figure out which way is up. I try to find my leash and I can’t do it. Ryan Moss [Reef filmer] said he saw me on the surface with my head down. I remember feeling wind on my head, but I still couldn’t figure out which way to go. I was trying to look for my board, but I couldn’t find it. But I finally popped up, just as the fourth wave is hitting me. And this whole time I’m getting pushed further down the reef, where it starts to get really shallow and heavy.

I’m under again, fourth wave. I’m underwater, looking for my leash, looking for the bottom, but everything I see is just spinning in circles. And by this time, I actually felt the fifth wave pass over me. And at that point, I was like, “Are you kidding me. I’m going to drown.”

And then suddenly I’m out of my body. I’m actually looking down at myself. The surface of the water is only two feet above me, but I couldn’t figure it out.

I hear my daughter’s voice, “Daddy, come home.” [Tears of emotion fill Mikala’s eyes.]

And then I came to. I don’t know how, but suddenly I’m out of the water. I went from watching myself drown — literally going “glug, glug, glug” — to suddenly standing on the reef, like angels pulled me out of the water. Next thing I know, the sixth wave hits me and I just bear hug my board. Everything is still spinning and I just go summersaulting along the reef hanging onto my board as tight as I can.

Then I caught the next whitewater straight up onto dry reef. I stood there, with everything still spinning in circles. I couldn’t see or hear and I was coughing up all this water.

I was literally seconds away from drowning. After that I just layed on the beach coughing up water, with bubbles coming out of my ear. And the waves were just pumping. I was bummed to miss the rest of the swell, but I guess that’s better than going home in a bodybag.”

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  • Edwords

    Coming from a guy like Mikala, this is a really scary story. Chicken skin when he floated over his body and heard his daughter’s voice. Glad you survived, man.

  • DONNY

    TOO BAD MIKALA. SLICE OF HUMBLE PIE.. KOOK

  • Steve Penderson

    clicking through that sequence is gnarly. where is that place?

  • Ralf

    another yet not dead kook

  • Connor Hobson

    this is deffently is a gnarly story

  • Ruddy

    so sorry to hear that man, glad you’re okay and safe!

  • bufu

    Donny and Ralf you sound like idiots. Good to hear dudes okay.

  • Moke 808

    Come to Hawaii this winter Donny and say that to Mikala’s face!!! Some how I think you wont!

  • Jim Rickards

    Mikala,glad to hear you survived that ordeal! And for those idiots Donny and Ralf…well…their comments are typical of wanna-be surfers and kooks! Their type never come out from behind their computers and wouldn’t know the difference between salt water and their mommies’ tit milk!! Mikala brother…stay strong; you are a perfect example of a great surfer and a solid family man.

  • Patrick

    Donny….I bet you drive a big truck with a massive volcom sticker, you slouch over your steering wheel and tilt you DC hat while you continually look in the mirror admiring how gay you are. Once you’re done with that you grab your Merrick and while back paddling everyone in the lineup you struggle to stand up on your new $750 purchase.

    Ralf….you’re just gay…and you know it. And that’s okay, but even the gays hate you…and that must suck.

    Mikala..keep ripping.

  • prog

    That’s Apocalypse for you.

  • Jonesy

    EVeryone loves a good wipeout story. As long as you survive it. Nice one.

  • Jeremy Rumas

    Mikala, Glad you’re OK.

    DONNY and Ralp, if you you’re going to say that on here, sign it with your full name. And then get lost.

  • IsoscelesTriangle

    You have been given a second chance in life by luck or divine intervention. Use it wisely, be kind to your fellow man in and out of the water, teach and love your children well. Glad you survived …

  • Alon

    Mikala I idolized your surfing and being a purveyor of stoke. Have a break, come here in the Philippines, visit your relatives. And surf small waves for a change. :)

  • William F.

    Yo Mika that was so heavy Bro. Glad you survived. Give me a shout when you get back to the North Shore

  • Frank Castle

    Just close your eyes and imagine how bad Donny sucks at surfing.

  • eric

    Mikala Jones,,,,,Much respect,,,,This wave looks very dangerous,,,I saw a picture of you on a Reef ad that i believe was from this same trip,, THE SHOT IS A HEAVY TUBE, i dont believe the readers really understand your talent ,,,,i am touched to hear your story. ***If anyone gets a chance, take a look at some of Mikala’s work,,

  • John Mark

    your account of this sent chills up my spine. Most of us have experienced something like this, just not on a set of mack waves as gnarly and dangerous. We are glad you are breathing to tell the tale.

    now get out there and shred.