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Surfer is in critical condition after running into trouble at Pipeline

By Rob Shikina

LAST UPDATED: 3:39 a.m. HST, Jan 6, 2012

A surfer was in critical condition Thursday after injuring his head at Pipeline on the North Shore.

Bystanders found the man underwater and still attached to his surfboard after noticing a board adrift and checking to see if anyone needed help, said Honolulu fire Capt. Terry Seelig.

An Ocean Safety dispatcher said lifeguards used a personal water craft to bring the unresponsive man to Ehukai Beach Park about 4:50 p.m. Lifeguards performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and revived the man, the dispatcher said.

Paramedic dispatch reports said the man had an injury to the back of his head.

Local surfer Kaleihao Crabbe, 31, said before the accident the man drew attention to himself by cutting Crabbe off on a large wave and falling over the falls.

"The waves just pounded him," Crabbe said. He said he could tell the man was too inexperienced to be in the large surf because he was using the wrong type of short board and his paddling style.

"I feel partially responsible for this," he said afterward by phone, because he was thinking about telling the man to get out of the water for his own safety, but didn't to avoid offending the man.

About a half-hour later, Crabbe was on shore when he noticed people waving in the water. Lifeguards quickly responded and brought the man in.

"He was blue and he wasn't breathing when they pulled him up on the beach," Crabbe said. "This type of stuff is completely preventable. Hawaii and its ocean is not a water park. It's a life or death situation out there."

The man's friend said the surfer was from Miami, Florida, Crabbe said.

Ocean Safety said the surf was about 8 to 10 feet at Ehukai Beach Park about 2 p.m. today.

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