Many injuries are not reported in surfing. Serious accidents often go unnoticed and many valiant efforts are never acknowledged. Often surfers live with their pain without really understanding what caused their injury.
Wipe outs can bring awareness to small problems which we can fix, to avoid future catastrophes. I learned of Riley Morgan's mishap from a posting by his father. I was concerned and watched the heat on YouTube.
Riley Morgan charged in his round 2 heat, taking on the steepest and largest waves of his heat. A few small glitches in his surfboard turned potentially high scoring rides into disasters. Riley completes the drop in the wave below, but; the underside of his surfboard sticks on the way down. In the photo, the bend in the nose rocker of his surfboard, impacts the wave face. This wipes off speed and nearly catapults him. Riley hangs on but the deceleration puts him behind the thundering lip. Turbulence from the breaking wave bounces him off.
Speed on water's surface produces lift or resistance against flat surfaces. Lift is a detriment in a nose poke. It can push a surfboard backwards, when it hits perfectly. Without modifying a surfboard, this can be avoided by keeping the entire nose out of water in a dive. This can be nearly impossible in a free fall drop.
In his next wave Riley gets hung up in the lip. He is unable to stay under the lip as water rushing up the wave face pushes him back. Sometimes nose rocker bend can hold a surfer back. Once this starts the entire board gets held back by water rising up the wave. The red arrow points to a wake created by rising water pushing against the nose rocker bend. A flat bottom pushes water forward in its path restricting movement.
Riley falls with the lip and separates from his board. He injures his back.
High rocker can hinder performance at high speed, if the underside is flat. Medium nose rocker combined with a convex or Vee nose bottom will increase performance. These bottom shapes part water and pushes it aside. Water moves out of the board's path and allows forward movement.
A surfboard can be pushed back or stopped in a nose poke due to pressure it generates against its bottom. Hydrodynamic pressure generated by speed pushes against the surfboard bottom exposed to water. Pressure on the top comes from gravitational force of the surfer's weight. Weight not water drives the nose under in a dive. Water flies over the board and rider in a pearl. Increasing nose rocker to keep the tip dry is not the solution. A diving surfboard with its tip bent upward hits water with high impact. Water cannot move out of the way of speeding objects and blocks penetration with resistance. This resistance is called lift. This lift can stop movement and catapult a surfer.