BODYBOARDER Stefan Dreyer landed in Cape Town this week after a surf accident in Namibia on Wednesday that almost paralysed him.
Were it not for a sequence of mini- miracles, Dreyer, 36, could even have drowned at desolate Skeleton Bay, the famous lefthander that attracts the world’s top surfers when conditions are right.
Swell comes from the deep near Walvis Bay and refracts down a spit of shallow sand, barrelling with ferocity – and velocity – for hundreds of metres.
Dreyer, on his first trip there, found out the hard way why locals call it the Donkey. The donkey kicks, of course.
Wednesday was one of those eerie desert days when even the sound of silence is muffled by mist. Figures in wetsuits roamed the grey gloom. Flashes of white foam and claps of distant thunder denoted waves cracking on almost dry sand.
Dreyer took off on a wave of maybe four feet, but got pitched over the falls. He face-planted into the sand, and his body curled over him in that sickening scorpion flip. The impact snapped his neck. His able-bodied future hung by a thread, literally. His spinal cord was intact but horribly vulnerable.
Floating in the foam, stunned, the slightest movement would sever it. Enter Hawaiian professional surfer Eli Olson, who happened to see Dreyer’s wipeout. In the words of surf photographer Alan van