Jack Baker: the bodyboarding cannon who flew 20 feet above Cape Solander

The Australian bodyboarder who was catapulted 20 feet into the air by a backwash wave suffered a burst lung.

For many, it is one of the most brutal wipeouts in the history of bodyboarding. How can a four-foot wave transform into a slingshot nightmare? The answer lies in the surf break itself.

Jack Baker, a bodyboarder from Cronulla, was catching waves at Ours, in Cape Solander, near Sydney, when after coming out of the barrel, a freak wave projected him into the sky and 40 feet forward.

"I even said to the photographer who was in the water: 'this backwash is going to kill someone.' As this wave came towards me, I took off and as I got in it was real deep, I was already going too fast, I attempted to eject hoping it would send me back through the wave," explained Baker.

"Instead of ejecting, I got smashed by the wave, and suddenly I was in the air just falling. I had already got kicked about so hard in the waves so as I came back down I was dizzy and I didn’t know whether I was in the water or up in the air. But when I hit the water that woke me up."

Despite the tricky exit in front of a cliff, Baker was able to reach the shore. But he soon understood that he was not okay. The young rider was short of breath and coughing blood.

He said he felt he had loads of sea water in his mouth and throat, and that it was hard to breathe. "I was scared I was going to die," added Jack Baker.

The bodyboarder was immediately rushed to the nearest hospital. Doctors later confirmed that the 22-year-old had burst his left lung and lost one liter of blood. Baker was diagnosed with a pneumothorax will not be able to surf for a month.

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