January 8 was a terrifying day on the North Shore. A life was lost at Rocky Point, while just down the beach Pipemasters Invitational winner Dusty Payne caught a rail on his takeoff at Backdoor, sending him head-first into a wave he didn’t resurface from. Thanks to the awareness and bravery of friends Dusty was brought safely to shore and revived.

Dusty faced intensive surgery this week to repair the damage inflicted during his collision with the reef. In the nearly two and a half weeks since he entered the ICU, his friends and family have not left his side.

“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster–with good days and bad–but we’ve been focusing on the little victories along the way,” said Dusty’s sister, Molly, told SURFER Magazine from the hospital. “Dusty had surgery yesterday for the skull fractures and broken jaw and they were able to fix it all in one go, which is huge. It was a long, five and a half hour surgery, but everything went smoothly. Now it’s time to focus on his recovery and get Dusty out of the hospital. We’re moving out of the ICU today and into a normal room. We probably still have a few more weeks here before he’ll be discharged, but we’re just taking it day by day.

“All the love and support has definitely been felt and we’re so grateful for it. We’re extremely thankful to everyone that played a role in saving him and we’re so lucky we still have him. We especially want to thank Keoki [Saguibo], Uluboi [Jimmy Napeahi], Mikey Redd, the North Shore lifeguards and Tai [Van Dyke].”

We join the entire surfing community in sending our thoughts and prayers to Dusty and his family as he continues his recovery.

-Kyveli Diener

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