Surfer Urges Use of Rubber Surfboard Fins After She Sliced Femoral Artery in Freak PB Accident

by on October 2, 2023 · 2 comments

in Health, Ocean Beach

By Chas Smith / Beach Grit / October 2, 2023

As surfers, as seafaring adventurers, we are well aware of the dangers we face every time we step foot in the vast ocean. From sharks to stingrays, extra chilly temperatures to sunburn, trouble lurks everywhere to make no mention of the surfboard itself.

The fiberglass and foam missile, either Patriot or SCUD (longboard), is the vehicle for fun, certainly, but get out of line and wham-o. Right in the kisser.

Or worse.

And let us travel to San Diego’s Pacific Beach where a 22-year-old was miraculously saved after slicing her femoral artery with the nasty fin of her surfboard.

“I remember coming up from the water, and then within five seconds, I felt the excruciating pain,” Allie Brieghner told San Diego’s NBC affiliate.

Within 20 seconds, she passed out.

Her friend, Alec Maddox, thankfully nearby saw she was in trouble.

“The blood was squirting, which means it’s arterial, so I had to get her out of the water as fast as I could.”

The brave man carried her to the beach and fashioned a tourniquet from leashes which he cranked down tight with a stick.

“Somebody nearby found me the surf leash, and they detached it from the surfboard, so I just wrapped it around her leg a couple of times and made a little loop because you need to put a stick through this so you can crank it, so I had somebody go grab me a stick as well,” Maddox said, having learned the trick in the Marine Corps.

Ms. Brieghner was rushed to a local hospital where doctors removed her femoral artery and stapled it back together before re-inserting it into her leg.

“If there’s anything that anyone can take from this, it is to be more aware of the board you have and the fins because it was a freak accident. If they were more like a rubber fin, I don’t think it would have severed my femoral artery or cut through as much,” she said at the end.

Food for thought.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg October 2, 2023 at 5:00 pm

Never thought I’d see a link to BeachGrit here!


Ron May October 3, 2023 at 1:08 am

Back when I attended Mission Bay High School in 1964 a fellow student went surfing in Coronado, fell into the soup, and another surfer shot over and the skeg (aka fin) hit my friend in the back of the head, splitting his head open and died. I whole heartedly support a softer material that can safe lives.


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