It was Fred Pattachia's first surf since getting home from the Gold Coast, Australia. The 29-year-old, Sunset Beach resident went to Mokuleia on Monday with good friends Sean Moody and Nalu Law. A rising north/northwest swell produced fun, uncrowded, high performance waves at the underground spot.
"I was feeling good," said Patacchia, who finished the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast with an equal 13th result. "We were surfing with only four other dudes in the water and my board was feeling good under my feet."
After shredding for two hours, Pattachia went for an air over a bubbling section. He punted, soared and then on then it happened. Pop! The goofy-foot "compressed" his left knee upon landing.
"One wave and one air ended it all," said Patacchia about the injury to his left knee. He went in directly after the injury, was able to walk to his car and drive home. He tweeted about the injury to his followers on Monday afternoon:
"Off to the doctor 2moro. Tweaked my knee surfing today. Iced and elevated, but I'm worried it's worse then I think. Completely devastated."
The ASP Prime Drug Awareness Pro at Margaret River begins its holding period on April 4. The second event of the World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, starts on April 19. Patacchia is adamant to go under the knife or ask for an injury wildcard. He knows, even if surgery isn't necessary, he will still be in less than top physical shape next time he puts on a contest jersey. Even if he doesn't need surgery, Freddy P. wants to surf through this injury and let his "talent and ability" carry him through heats. Pattachia's Quiksilver teammate, Dane Reynolds, is currently recovering from knee surgery in California.
"I have a few weeks before I got to be at Bells and I might miss Margaret River," said Patacchia. "I hurt this knee once before and it feels the same. I can walk around. I don't think it's my ACL or MCL. But I can't squat and explode into a jump at this point."
As of Tuesday afternoon, the full extent of Fred's knee injury is unknown. He has yet to be diagnosed by a doctor. Patacchia is waiting for an appointment with his primary physician and for the surf on the North Shore to drop.
"I didn't want to get stuck in the traffic because the waves are big," said Patacchia of folks coming to surf and watch the recent north swell, "I can walk, but it's not all that comfortable. If I got stuck in Haleiwa, in the car, in an uncomfortable position and couldn't be on my couch I'd be bummed."
Anybody who has driven on Kamehameha Highway when the surf is cranking knows that it's a more like a parking lot than a road. Fred spent Tuesday on his couch talking on the phone to his friends Sunny Garcia and Jason Shibata, who also had knee injuries. Patacchia is taking Ibuprofen, giving his knee some R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) and waiting for the ASP to get back to him with his insurance info.
"ASP makes us pay for an insurance so I want to use that because I'm paying for it," says Patacchia who also has a personal health insurance.
Ideally, Pattachia wants to get a referral from a primary physician Wednesday afternoon in order to see Sunny Garcia's knee specialist, Dr. Khan, on Thursday. While the nature of Freddy P.'s injury is still unknown, he thinks it might be his lateral meniscus.
A meniscus tear is a common knee injury. The meniscus is a rubbery, C-shaped disc that cushions your knee. Each knee has two menisci (plural of meniscus) -- one at the outer edge of the knee and one at the inner edge.
"I'll text you tomorrow what it is, and if it's the lateral meniscus than I should have been a doctor," joked Patacchia to ESPN.