Surfing is not considered a contact sport, yet it remains one of the most dangerous sports you can take on.

From lacerations to drowning, and shark attack, there’s no shortage of accident and injury to turn your pleasure swiftly to pain. Those dedicated to the sport maintain that if you’ve never been hurt, you’re not doing it properly. The adopted motto is basically: “No pain, no gain.”

Aside from the dramatic media coverage of shark attack, there is a constant flow of surf related injuries that arrive in Emergency.

The most common injuries are lacerations, facial fractures, and joint dislocations.  Lacerations and fractures are often the result of being hit with your own board, particularly the fin, either on a solo wipeout, or a collision with another surfer or unavoidable rocks.  Never underestimate the force of two 80kg people, plus boards at a velocity of around 30kmph, colliding. And then of course there’s the pounding of the surf.

Joint dislocations are more than likely in this scenario.  Lacerations can obviously be sutured, but depending on where they actually occurred, they’re prone to infection, particularly surfing after a storm, where run-off water feeds out into the ocean.  Jetties are known for having water with increased infection for that reason.  The bacteria villain here is coliform.  Many times when suturing a laceration where there are concerns about infection, a drainage tube is placed into the wound to allow any potential infectious material to discharge as the wound heals. A course of antibiotics is prescribed; crucially to be finished, in prevention of infection re-occurrence.

Accomplished American surfer Koa Rothman, younger brother of professional surfer Makua Rothman, was surfing for hours. Knackered, he decided to get one final in, when a ditched gun (a specialised 3-3.5m board for tackling big waves) made it’s way over the falls and smashed him straight in the face.

The result was whiplash, concussion, an injured knee, and a wad of broken teeth, which he subsequently swallowed.

This is his account:

“I finally got this wave and pulled in backside,” he says. “And that was probably the most barrelled I’ve ever been on my 9’0” – it was like an eight- to ten-foot wave. And I’m in the barrel, and all of a sudden I saw this like flash of red – it was this guy’s board. I put my head down a little bit, ‘cause it was coming straight to my face and it just cleaned me out on the side of my head. And as soon as that happened, my teeth like shattered together on top of each other. Broken in half. And as soon as that happened, I hit the water and swallowed my teeth. I was like, ‘oh f++k…. It was pretty traumatic. Worst wipeout surfing for sure. It was like a car accident.”

“I went to the shittiest hospital and this dentist to see if I could fly, because one of the nerves on my teeth was completely hanging out. It was a little bit of a nightmare for three days – like, I could tell everyone I talked to at the airport were looking at my teeth. I looked like some crack head or something. And I was talking with a lisp. But it’s all good now.”

And of those swallowed teeth? An emergency dentist is often a cosmetic dentist too: those teeth passed safely through Koa’s system and were replaced with brand new pearly white veneers.

Watch videos about dental marketing to see if teeth matter. After that, really freak yourself out with footage of worst surfing wipeouts to remind you that life is an adventure to really sink your teeth into.