PORTLOCK (HawaiiNewsNow) - March 3, 2016, is a day Jordan Hollen will never forget. The parts of it he can remember, anyway.
The 29-year-old surfer was at the notorious surf break China Walls when he got into trouble in the water. Hollen was pinned in the impact zone and was getting repeatedly bashed against the rocks.
"I remember being swept down to the corner and balling up and thinking, 'This is it,'" Hollen said.
But thanks to the quick action of good Samaritans, Hollen was pulled from the surf and brought to waiting paramedics.
He met his rescuers Friday so he could thank them in person.
One of the surfers in the water that day was off-duty lifeguard Julian Bosgra. "He looked pretty messed up, we were really worried about him," said Bosgra, at the informal reunion at an East Oahu park.
Bosgra and others managed to escape the surf and get a semi-conscious Hollen to safety.
"I seen the blood come up before you came up, you scared me," said another surfer, who identified himself as Scott. "You were racked man."
Hollen said his memories of those terrifying moments are fuzzy.
"I couldn't really see anything, it was super bright. It was a bright, hazy, Kona wind day, then I could make out like you guys' shadows," he said.
Paramedics responded and took Hollen to the Queen's Medical Center, where he was treated for a concussion, and a fractured vertabrae and scapula.
Hollen said the accident was about 2 p.m. and he got to the hospital about an hour later. Hollen didn't wake up until 7 or 8 p.m.
Hollen says he realizes how lucky he was to survive.So too does Bosgra, an 18-year Ocean Safety veteran.
"It was a good thing we were there because if he were alone surfing out there, I don't know how he would have made it in," Bosgra told Hollen.
Hollen will be in a neck and spine brace for another five months, before beginning rehabilitation.
He says he'll surf again, but won't ever return to China Walls, which had been his home break for years.