Steve Pike

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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