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The Samoa tsunami surfer

14:10 2nd October 2009 by
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Chris Nel, lucky to be alive after tsunami struck while he surfed. We found this on New Zealand website Stuff.co.nz:

A Wellington man, forced to ride out the Samoan tsunami on his surfboard, thought he would be smashed into the jungle by the surging water.

Hospitality student Chris Nel was on a surfing holiday on the south coast of Savai’i island when the 8.3 magnitude quake struck on Wednesday morning.

“I went out early in the morning for a surf, then I felt the tremor – you get them all the time in New Zealand so I didn’t really think too much of it – then I went out in the water and caught a few waves.”

He had been in the water with four other Kiwi surfers and an Australian when the first signs of the tsunami appeared.

“All of a sudden the water went real weird, it kind of glassed off and got real lumpy, then we started moving real quick, getting sucked out to sea.

“It was pretty scary looking back and seeing the reef completely dried up. It looked like a volcanic riverbed – it was just gone.”

Mr Nel then saw a “big-as spurt of water” hit the shore.

“I was thinking, `This is it, we’re going to get washed away and smashed into the jungle.”‘

The surfers tried in vain to reach the shore as trees and debris started floating past them. They lay on the surfboards as more wave surges swept in, riding them out and trying not to get smashed on the shore.

“After about 35 or 45 minutes of floating around we managed to time it between a surge to get to land through the reef channel.”

By the time Mr Nel returned to the shore, much of the surf camp he had been staying at had been destroyed.

Go here for the rest of the story: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/south-pacific/2923467/Wellington-surfer-rode-out-giant-tsunami-waves

A better sort of Samoan wave. Shot from www.surfsnowtravel.com.au

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