How's your June been? We'd bet it has been slightly less dramatic than former World No. 2 Mick Campbell. The 43-year-old started the month off with a bang, scoring one of the longest, meanest and best barrels of the year at Kanduis in Indonesia. He finished it by being dragged unconscious from the water at Iluka, on the northern coast of NSW. It was only the quick thinking of his girlfriend, Tahlija Redgard -- also a pro surfer -- who administered CPR on the beach, which saved his life.
Once described by surf historian Matt Warshaw as "One of the greatest, most likable overachievers in pro surfing history," Campbell had a 10-year career at the top of the sport. Famous for his determination, endless energy, fitness and competitive spirit, he reached a career peak in 1998. In that year he came second to Kelly Slater by a margin of just 38 points, to this day the smallest in Championship Tour history.
Since retiring in 2010, Campbell has pursued his passions of surfing and fishing with the same intensity as surfing, but now with a partner in crime. His girlfriend, Redgard, is as hardcore as Campbell when it comes to her commitment to the ocean. She, too, is both an incredible fisherwoman and talented surfer and is currently competing in her first year on the Qualifying Series. Their combined angling and tuberiding abilities have netted a sponsorship with The Mad Hueys.
While Campbell's efforts at Kanduis were made it around the world on the web, for many who were there at the height of the biggest swell of the year June 5, it was Redgard who was the standout performer. Her efforts at a wave with a reputation as one of the most dangerous in all of Indonesia earned her plenty of admiration.
"Tahlija was the first woman I have ever seen surfing proper Kandui, making it to the channel and charging harder than any of the men out there," longtime Kandui lensman Manu Miguelez posted on Instagram. "Thanks for charging and making the surf community proud."
However, if her performance at Kandui's generated admiration, that is nothing compared to her efforts when her quick thinking and composure saved Campell's life. The two were surfing a solid swell at the breakwall at Iluka, located just to the north of Yamba, when it's believed Mick's surfboard hit him in the head and knocked him unconscious. Redgard was on hard to drag him from the water and administer CPR on the beach before Campbell was airlifted to a local hospital.
"We almost lost him! He nearly left this world. Maybe he did for a short space of time!" She posted on Instagram when Mick left the hospital six days later. "But he's a fighter and the strongest person to ever walk this Earth in my eyes. We busted down the big door to a massive accident that could of happened to anyone. And now it's time to recover and get right back to where we were before it happened."
We wish Mick all the best in his recovery and the couple all the best in their aquatic adventures.