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OC surfer survives near-death NorCal wipeout

January 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Jake Trette was pounded by 30-foot waves as he surfed the famous Mavericks break near Half Moon Bay last week.

He was unconscious when he was pulled from the ocean, but now he says he's well enough to surf again.

Trette is back home in Dana Point, where he grew up surfing. He has surfed big waves all over the world, but this was his first time surfing at Mavericks.

The 30-year-old is considered a miracle patient after nearly dying last week.

"I knew I was in trouble," said Trette.

Trette was paddling out with other surfers as huge waves pound down at Mavericks, located 30 miles south of San Francisco. After two hours of great surfing, a rogue wave 35-feet-high surprised them.

"I remember everyone was scared, we were all paddling to try to get over it," said Trette. "I didn't make it and I got sucked over backwards in the lip. And as a surfer it's the worst place you can be."

Trette remembers his feet hitting the ocean floor 30-feet below. He pushed himself up, reaching the surface as a second wave slammed down on him.

"That's my last memory, just a face full of water," said Trette.

A jet skier found Trette unconscious in the water and a kayaker also helped get him to shore. A nurse then performed CPR, while another person called 911. Doctors placed Trette in a medically-induced coma to slow his brain's need for oxygen. He awoke to see his mother by his side.

"I saw my mom crying and I was coming out of the coma and I made sure my toes were wiggling," said Trette. "I could wiggle my feet so I wasn't paralyzed. I started crying. I gave her a thumbs up."

"Very, very happy, joyous," said Jake's mom Debbie Trette. "It's a miracle, a miracle."

Trette is the father of 4-year-old Jake Jr. He says except for soreness in his lung area, he's doing well and surprisingly ready to return to surfing.

"It was a miracle I believe," said Trette, who is forever grateful to the people who saved him. "It was a small miracle, all those people came together to save my life."

Trette wants to surf at Mavericks again in a year. He says he will be better prepared and will wear a helmet and life vest. He would also like to launch an all-volunteer rescue program at Mavericks to help save other lives.