'That's insane': Heart-stopping video shows moment Aussie broke his back

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·2-min read

A surf photographer has recalled the terrifying moment he thought he became paralysed after soaring through the air on a jet ski in massive swell.

Ryan Moss was photographing a surf event called Super Swell Saturday in Hawaii, when the man driving his jet ski, Cam Richards, sent them over the lip of a giant wave.

Footage of the dramatic event saw a large group of jet skis doing the same, but the duo didn’t quite make it in time to ensure a safe landing.

“I just remember feeling weightless and it taking a really long time to come down. I didn’t realise how fast Cam sent us over the lip of that thing. There was no handle on the ski, so I couldn’t stand up and hold on and hope my legs would have absorbed some of the impact,” Mr Moss told Surfline.

Cam Richards and photographer Ryan Moss were sent flying on the back of their jet ski (black). Source: Surfline
Cam Richards and photographer Ryan Moss were sent flying on the back of their jet ski (black). Source: Surfline

“Next thing I know I hear a loud thud. It felt like the ski buckled in half. Along with that, my back sent a shooting pain and tingling feeling from my waist down to my feet. I remember saying, “f**k, f**k, f**k… I’m paralysed.”

Mr Moss fortunately wasn’t paralysed, but he was stranded in amongst huge surf with a broken back, and his thousands of dollars worth of camera gear was floating away in his dry bag.

“I still couldn’t kick my legs, and that gear is my life,” he told the publication.

Eventually, another jet ski managed to scoop him up and deliver him to the safety of the shoreline, while others on the water managed to track down his expensive belongings.

Photographer not paralysed after dramatic fall

Lifeguards determined he wasn’t paralysed, given he had slight movement in his lower limbs.

“There they were able to establish that I did have feeling and range of motion in my feet and legs. That was the biggest relief,” he said.

Mr Ross was rushed to the local hospital and later transferred to The Queen's Medical Centre where he remains in recovery.

A huge group of jet skis scrambled to pass over the wave in time to land safely. Source: Surfline
A huge group of jet skis scrambled to pass over the wave in time to land safely. Source: Surfline

Footage of the dramatic incident has gone viral on social media, with many saying they have never seen anything like it before.

“Heaviest jet ski video of all time. And that’s saying a lot,” one person wrote in a comment after the video was shared to Instagram.

“That’s insane. Nuts had to be broken on impact,” another said.

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