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FRED SWEGLES/ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Kolohe Andino, of San Clemente listens intently to coach and pro surfer Mike Parsons of San Clemente at the Quiksilver USA Surfing Championships in 2011.
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O.C. surfer survives near drowning

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Another Orange County surfer and big-wave rider has survived a near drowning, the latest incident happening in Northern California this past the weekend.

Surfer Mike Parsons, who grew up in Laguna Beach and now lives in San Clemente, is the latest to escape death in recent weeks after he wiped out on a triple overhead wave in San Francisco on Sunday, according to Surfline.com.

Parsons told Surfline it was an amazing morning, with everyone getting waves. After about four hours, a nice set came in and he paddled for the third wave.

"I thought I was into it, then suddenly realized I wasn't. I took two more strokes and tried to stand up in what turned out to be the lip. I freefell, and remember my feet hitting my board for a second, then my head hit the water really hard," he said in the interview.

According to the report, he suffered serious whiplash and cracked a vertebrae in his neck. He thought he was paralyzed under water.

But like San Clemente Greg Long in December, Parsons was able to live to surf another day. Long suffered a three-wave hold down at Cortes Bank and needed to be airlifted to the hospital.

Parsons is no stranger to big waves, holding the Guinness Book of World Records for a wave he caught in 2008 at Cortes Bank, which he held until that record was broken by Garrett McNamera's 78-foot wave in Portugal in 2011. These days, Parsons focuses mostly on coaching World Tour surfer Kolohe Andino.

Parsons told Surfline he was fortunately wearing a floatation device, and a surfer nearby ditched his board, paddled over and got him to shore.

Contact the writer: lconnelly@ocregister.com


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