A Brazilian surfer who was left with a large gash after a collision in the waves at Byron Bay is appalled by the complete disregard for others shown by some people in the water.
On Saturday morning just before 8am, Letícia Dornelas excitedly headed to the surf at The Pass to celebrate her friend's birthday when a fellow surfer dropped in on her, stealing her first wave of the day. She shouted at him to move.
“I thought he was actually going to get out of the way but he looked at me and the way he jumped, it was like he was throwing his board toward my direction," Ms Dornelas told Yahoo News Australia.
After being thrown into the water, the 24-year-old passed the man's board back to him and questioned him on his behaviour, but he allegedly responded in a "sarcastic" way and seemed unbothered by the potential risk he put her in.
That risk became a reality when Ms Dornelas felt extreme pain coming from her foot. Looking down, she noticed there was a deep gash on the top of her toes.
Shell Whyatt, Ms Dornelas' friend, was also out in the surf and witnessed the man kicking his board, recalling how unnecessary it appeared.
"He could have just pulled off the back of the wave," she told Yahoo New Australia.
The public rallied round to help
After swimming back to shore, a couple helped Ms Dornelas clean the bleeding wound and she later described them as "angels" in a Facebook post for helping her.
The man eventually came out of the surf, but ignored the young surfer on the beach as she tended to her wound. She decided to confront him over his apparent disregard for her wellbeing.
“I almost broke his board to be honest, I got so furious," she confessed.
Ms Dornelas, who has been surfing for six years since moving to Australia, is confident the man would have known he was in the wrong as he was a "strong" surfer.
She likened this incident to someone crashing into your car and causing an injury, but showing no remorse or taking any accountability for their actions.
"You just don't treat people like that", she said. The man did apologise after he was confronted, but it was believed to be "insincere" by Ms Dornelas.
Surfer's injury had a ripple effect
The surfer's foot was so painful that she decided to go to the hospital for assistance. She required an X-ray and five stitches on her foot, costing a whopping $400 in medical bills.
Thankfully, after a recent visa change, she was covered by Medicare but has been unable to walk since Saturday morning, and was forced to postpone a work trip to Western Australia as she is unable to put weight onto her foot.
Ms Dornelas wanted to share her experience to warn others, calling for fellow surfers to check in on one another after they collide in the surf.
"It's like there are no rules out there sometimes" she said.
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