(GUARDIAN) - A Hawaiian surfer has been celebrating a dramatic escape from a huge wipe-out in Tahiti.
Niccolo Porcella was picked up by the giant wave at Teahupoo before being rolled helplessly forward and then dashed on a coral reef beneath the surface.
Those watching feared he may have died after he disappeared from view.
"It was the most violent thing - I got annihilated. I was bounced, pin-balled on the reef, the whole nine yards. Just up and over and up and over," Porcella told surfinglife.com.au .
"It held me under pretty long. My life-vest got blown off right away and then the second wave drilled me - I actually hit the bottom even harder. Hit my back, my knees, and then I got about four more waves on the head after that … washed over the reef …"
The 27-year-old was churned around in the water before he eventually resurfaced gasping for air.
"I came up, spitted blood a couple of times - then I just got this scream from deep inside me, just rhawghhhh!"
Frightening though the experience may have been, it failed to put Porcella off. He said: "I felt the most alive and grateful that I was alive, I was so happy.
"I had a headache for two or three minutes, then went back out and waited about 20 minutes for another bomb. The best day of my life was marrying my wife, but this, for sure, was second best."