Russell Bierke taken to hospital after Down South wipeout

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Today, while the remaining CT surfers blazed through bluebird conditions at the Rip Curl Pro, an emergency unfolded on Victoria's west coast.

As webcast watchers saw, Bells Beach enjoyed light northerly winds with 6-8 feet of swell, while the coastline west of Cape Otway had similarly gentle winds but more than double the amount of swell.

Considering the size and conditions - it ain't often you get all day offshores down there - a number of surfers made the trek, both ousted CTers such as Kelly Slater, and the obligatory big wave set. Amongst the latter was Russell Bierke.

Russ at The Right, West Oz (Photo Tim Bonython)

Eyewitnesses say that after pulling into a big barrel, Russ fell and apeared to get hit on the head or neck by his board. Russ was then down for a long time, some reports are saying it was a two wave hold down, before being pulled onto a ski by Kelly Slater, Ross Clarke-Jones, and Ryan Hipwood. Unlike some others in the water, Russ wasn't wearing an inflatable vest.

"Kelly and Ryan bought him to shore. He was pretty blue, shaken up, and he'd taken in a lot of water," said one onlooker whose wife was the first paramedic to treat him.

On shore he was given oxygen by paramedics and had his lungs cleared. "He brought up a lot of water," said the eyewitness, "and he didn't look good at all."

With his condition stabilised, Russ was then taken to Warnambool Hospital with Ryan Hipwood also attending.

More to come...

 

Comments

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Wednesday, 19 Apr 2017 at 7:57pm

Russ charging ! He had a great support team . Hippos got a few rescues under his belt now .

atticus's picture
atticus's picture
atticus commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 11:14am

No inflatable vest? I understand this is now frowned upon in heavy waves in Hawaii, which makes we wonder why Russ decided to forego safety. Does anyone know how big it really was?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 12:11pm

I've seen a few photos and it was ~ 20ft.

Kelly was wearing a vest.

theween's picture
theween's picture
theween commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 11:54am

Why don't these guys wear a helmet? Not cool?

The Ween

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 12:52pm

Don't be shy Stu, chuck em up for us punters :-)

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 1:01pm

You'll have to wait till Wave Of The Day tomorrow.

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 2:22pm

make sure you put the name of the photographer.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 1:02pm

:-)

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 1:19pm

Heheheh

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 2:25pm

That's exactly where the Band of Brothers come in, watching every moment to make sure your ok. Lucky for Russ he had 3 of the best lifeguards there for him. Hippo is getting use to this after the Aaron Gold's situation at Cloudbreak.

ojackojacko's picture
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ojackojacko commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 3:05pm
southey's picture
southey's picture
southey commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 4:54pm

Not to downplay Russ's injury .
But this is exactly why there is nothing to see .
This shit happens every second swell .
Move along , show the the Images of Pedra .
That my friend is worthy , and inaccesible !

" Gimme More Power "

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 5:16pm

Helmets dont stop chin butts .

Seadog71's picture
Seadog71's picture
Seadog71 commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 7:35pm

Stu, I'm with southey. No photos. The spoils are already a plenty.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 7:43pm

Was actually joking with Goofyfoot about running photos.

Hence the smiley face.

:-)

bigredcouch's picture
bigredcouch's picture
bigredcouch commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 8:24pm

So what was the point of running this article? People are injured in the surf all the time.

bigredcouch's picture
bigredcouch's picture
bigredcouch commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 8:26pm

Might as well run photos - you've already highlighted that somewhere past cape otway and in the vicinity of waurnambool are world class 20 foot waves.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 8:32pm

And I'm pretty sure the people hunting 20ft waves would already know about the place.

So really, no harm done then hey?

bigredcouch's picture
bigredcouch's picture
bigredcouch commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 10:01pm

By this logic it would then make no difference if SW posted photos..? So why the innuendo between you and stu on this thread?

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 21 Apr 2017 at 6:09am

Innuendo? Nah it was just a joke

theween's picture
theween's picture
theween commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 9:21pm

Helmets stop, or minimise, brain injuries so I'm unsure what you're suggestin', Clam. If I was Owen Wright's surgeon, I know what I'd be recommending.

The Ween

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 9:31pm

The irony of this post is not lost on me . Especially with who it is aimed at .
But as was first posted , wouldn't of helped Russ in this instance . Next thing is to consider is with the volume of water pushing through the lip etcetera of a wave like this , neck /upper spine then becomes the week point . Just ask Suchy .

" Gimme More Power "

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 11:59pm

True
helmets aren't so cool for images

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 10:04pm

I'd like to question that theween. Helmets prevent skull injuries more than brain injuries. The only way a helmet is going to prevent a brain injury is if it prevents a board going through the skull and injuring the brain.

As for football, the brain is injured when it hits the skull, not by the action of the skull being hit. By inference, the helmet will protect the skull, but the brain will still be shaken by the same force as it hits the skull.

Feel free for anyone to disagree. I'm interested in points of view, but all the research I have read is that it is the brain hitting the skull that creates the injury. The skull injury while sometimes being gruesome is more cosmetic.

Many weak parts in the skull, behind the ears, temples etc, but helmets also don't protect neck from impact, possibly more exposed and problematic than the skull, and the weight of the helmet can be a factor in whiplash injuries due to weight/inertia.

Not quite as clear cut as you might imagine.

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 10:24pm

Response to GF
Yeah okay .
How easy is it to get a carpark at Bells /Winki when it's 10ft .
Now x2 .
Are you getting my drift .
Surfing has become a bigger spectator sport than participation ( or at very least all the scenester hangers on ) . No need to feed the congestion , imagine the fucking nuffy tourists , fences , viewing platforms etc Etc .
Victoria already has a surf coast .

" Gimme More Power "

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 21 Apr 2017 at 6:16am

Yep fair call, you seen the article on Beachgrit? Much worse than this one, names everything

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey commented Friday, 21 Apr 2017 at 10:55am

Nah , wouldn't open .
I presume they didn't go with footage .

" Gimme More Power "

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 10:25pm

What a wank......

2 Mile reef a few hundred metres West of Port Campbell. Hasn't been a 'secret' since the mags dubbed it 'Easter Reef' back in the late 80's when it turned on during one of the Bells comps.

Anybody who reckons it's still off the grid has their hand on it.

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 11:00pm

Let me guess RM .
You've had your time , so now you don't give a stuff . There's no secrets left anywhere to those willing to seek it out . But we don't need to pay homage to a place or create a story because xyz were involved . And let's be honest there will be hundreds of other better photos of heavier spots , floating about for the frothers to froth on . One contributor here had a better photo taken of them lately .
You want the inside mail Stu .
;-)

" Gimme More Power "

peabo's picture
peabo's picture
peabo commented Friday, 21 Apr 2017 at 6:47pm

I assumed they were at a different far heavier slabby left a bit closer to Cape Otway.

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 at 10:33pm

No exposure right? bad enough those guys are down there taking photos of themselves and as mentioned above Victoria already has a surfcoast no need to hype up a wipeout just cause Kelly got involved. Get well Russell

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Friday, 21 Apr 2017 at 1:26am

Those kevlar helmets from andy capp in W.A are worth the money if your charging xxl death slabs . And no they dont stop a board to the chin or neck .
i wear a twenty year old andycapp made of epoxy kevlar,
it cost under $ 300
Money well spent .

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Friday, 21 Apr 2017 at 12:21pm

https://www.instagram.com/p/BTIKtPWBbzV/
Picture of russ in hospital recovered

shelly's picture
shelly's picture
shelly commented Saturday, 22 Apr 2017 at 3:15pm

if you want the true story. refer to story -locals key to surf rescue .
The Warrnambool standard. saturday april 22 page11

shelly

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Sunday, 23 Apr 2017 at 7:43am
sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Sunday, 23 Apr 2017 at 9:13am

No it was Hippo that saved him , and Kelly , how dare some local yocal dispel the hollywood spin on a great story , great Russel is OK , at least he got a lot of exposure , and won't need to go back there!

cantseemenow's picture
cantseemenow's picture
cantseemenow commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 6:57am

Sharkman has pretty much got it right, the only local surfer involvement is that Kelly was on a jet ski borrowed from a local. After that local surf life savers and medics took over and did a great job.

shelly's picture
shelly's picture
shelly commented Sunday, 23 Apr 2017 at 12:35pm

really shark man were you there?

shelly

dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000's picture
dangerouskook2000 commented Sunday, 23 Apr 2017 at 7:34pm

Show us some photos. I promise I won't go there, let alone surf it. :)

rcordner's picture
rcordner's picture
rcordner commented Sunday, 23 Apr 2017 at 9:25pm

Naming, locating, and providing details about an underground surf-spot is inappropriate.
Take a look at youtube of the footage of some of the recent sessions at Mavericks. Extraordinary numbers of people all over each other (60-70+) creating dangerous situations that didn't exist when it was sort of "hush-hush".
Same with Shipsterns at times.
Yes, keen big-wave surfers know about good big-waves without details in the public media. It's best if it stays that way rather than having nuff-nuffs read about it, poke around, paddle out, get pictures, float around on the shoulder, sometimes getting in the way, bailing 9-6 boards in a lip that a genuine big-wave surfer is trying to surf, and creating dangerous situations a la Mavs and Shippies.
Better to pretend it's still hush-hush. It's safer for everyone that way. And i believe those that want to blurt and shout all the details for the masses are being inconsiderate to those who calmly, quietly and respectfully request courtesy about the waves that are very important to them.
Thank-you

cantseemenow's picture
cantseemenow's picture
cantseemenow commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 7:04am

Agree with you rcordner. A lot of surfers turned up to surf that day and most of them came to surf not be photographed, the irony is that the people who are most strongly against the place being exposed fell head over heels to accommodate the main attraction, Kelly Slater.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 9:23am

With Kelly moving into semi-retirement I imagine this scenario will become more frequent. He'll be chasing more and more swells at remote/underground spots...he may find this welcome diminishes if he brings unwarranted exposure.

tonybarber's picture
tonybarber's picture
tonybarber commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 9:17am

Not sure if I can agree here. If it is all so secret then who is in the 'club'. Comparing to Marvericks, is a bit wild off the mark for obvious reasons. The only argument I can see is that maybe fewer blokes would be in the critical zones. But that holds true for all locations. Who is a 'genuine' surfer ? Me, not you ? In this case, the spot was popular enough for a few skis and someone to see that he was in trouble and, of course, got him out.

tootr's picture
tootr's picture
tootr commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 9:20am

A few pics and a map of that place in my 30 odd year old copy of Mark Warren surfing atlas.

bigredcouch's picture
bigredcouch's picture
bigredcouch commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 10:19am

Same here. However, this 'news story' would have received more visits than there are copies of the Mark Warren surf atlas in existence. I got an email from Surfline the other day - subject line: Kelly Slater assists in rescue of big-wave surfer. The email went on to describe a big wave spot in PC. So let me get this right, an American surf forecasting website emailed me to let me know that on the finals day of the rip curl pro there were good big waves in port campbell and a surfer had a bad wipeout and was not okay for a time and now is okay. Fuck me what the fuck!

bigredcouch's picture
bigredcouch's picture
bigredcouch commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 10:28am

Here's the Surfline story. Note the page visits recorded sits at more than 74,000

http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/19-year-old-big-wave-surfer-hospitaliz...

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 3:08pm

Why do I get the feeling that jet skis drivers are loving the positive promotion? A la, jet ski drivers save the day... so they should, some of those sponsored persons mentioned have almost killed people recently with their jet skis by running through crowds of surfers on the Gold Coast. Furthermore, jet skis create agro in the water -resulting in accidents..?? Even furthermore Bierke was probably too amped-up because his hero was out there -young bloke got too excited and bumped his head, KNOCK!! Thank God for resuscitation techniques!

shelly's picture
shelly's picture
shelly commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 1:14pm

kelly was in the right place at the right time to help the guys on the ski [locals] get him to the beach just in time where there were paramedics at the surf club. kelly surfs here a bit he has gained respect by giving respect .he was not seeking exposure the internet took care of that!

shelly

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 1:34pm

Murray Bourton has a nice pic on his insta of a surfer on a wave called 2 mile
and the surfer is.....

southey's picture
southey's picture
southey commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 3:47pm

Guys . This story broke on Here .
Stu was the first to report it . ( yes he didn't include photos or even a description other than west of Otway . ) Honorary mention to name dropping Pottz live on the contest site .
It was then ran online on fairfax . Closely followed by the herald online . Standard on the Thursday and Geelong Friday . I feel for Kelly , he didn't invite this attention .
But if it had just stayed within the community of one seperation then it would have still been about Russ's recovery, not who fallated who .
Instead this is heading to TMZ or some other bullshit .
Udo , please don't bring up Figjam .
Morry is probably already feeling conflicted enough !

" Gimme More Power "

shelly's picture
shelly's picture
shelly commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 2:13pm

yeah fellow brothers helping a fellow brother everyone survived. should be the end of the story.

shelly

cantseemenow's picture
cantseemenow's picture
cantseemenow commented Monday, 24 Apr 2017 at 2:45pm

Yeah but there is more to this story isn't there! It will eventually come out.

Time will tell.

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Wednesday, 26 Apr 2017 at 6:58pm

"Unlike some others in the water, Russ wasn't wearing an inflatable vest." Quote.

Wonder what happened to Russells vest ? I think he would choose to wear one if the choice was there ?

cantseemenow's picture
cantseemenow's picture
cantseemenow commented Wednesday, 26 Apr 2017 at 7:46pm

Would not have done him much good though clam, being knocked unconcious and unable to use it, lucky Kelly & Hippo were there to step in

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Wednesday, 26 Apr 2017 at 11:40pm

Just curious

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Thursday, 11 May 2017 at 1:08pm

The boy is already back in the water and charging bombies !