Dave Wassel and John Duval clash in controversial wipeout

August 30, 2013 | Surfing
Dave Wassel and John Duval: the eternal surfer/bodyboarder attraction

The tow-in surfing community is under attack, after a controversial video featuring Dave Wassel's horrific wipeout spread over the internet.

Dave Wassel is always looking for big wave rides. He checked the weather forecast maps, and decided to travel to Sapinus, Tahiti, French Polynesia.

After being towed into a solid perfect 12-foot barrel, Wassel sees John Duval, a local bodyboarder, paddling and dropping in. The result is a double wipeout.

"Possibly, and trying to look on the brighter side, maybe that individual just wanted to share that ride with me, rather than taking it from me", Dave Wassel told our friends at Surfing Magazine, while sharpening a fish knife.

"I went from as happy as I've ever been, looking down this giant kaleidoscope of barrel, and all of a sudden being caught blocked by some guy, who I couldn't even tell if he was on a boogie board, boat or airplane. It was just wrong".

Wassel says he was "concerned for, not only my own life, but for his as well". The big wave surfer believes he could've made that wave, but "because of the fear factor I froze".

Wassel's words quickly spread over the wave riding community, and two old controversial topics were resurrected and blended together. The surfing vs. bodyboarding issue, as well as the tow-in riders vs. paddle-in chargers' priority rule.

Is there a fair judgment in the Wassel vs. Duval case?

Update: Tahitian wave riders warn foreign tow-in surfers

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