Surfing isn't for everyone. It requires a certain level of physical fitness and balance, along with the realization, that, like in anything, there is the risk of injury.
Tom Gregg didn't get that memo. He was surfing in France in 2009, took a wipeout and suffered a severe slice on his calf, through to the nerve, by the fins on the bottom of his Channel Islands surfboard. Wipeouts happen frequently in surfing. Occasionally the surfboard adds a bit of further injury to insult. Usually surfers will shake their head, assess the injury, and move on.
Gregg went a different direction.
He blamed Channel Islands. The fins are too sharp, he claims, and he filed a product-liability lawsuit on Wednesday at Los Angeles County Superior Court, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“The surfboard, fins and their component parts were unsafe for their intended use,” Gregg claimed in the lawsuit. Gregg indicated that the fin severed muscles in the leg and caused injuries “so severe that he will never regain full muscle strength in the injured leg.”
Channel Islands is based in Carpenteria and was founded by Al Merrick, who remains one of its primary shapers. The company is one of the largest manufacturers of surfboards in the world, and owned by Burton.
Among the team's high-profile list of surfers is the world's most famous surfer, Kelly Slater. Since discovering Twitter (@kellyslater), Slater has become quite the proficient Twitteroso, and he had some commentary on the lawsuit.
“Shame on you, Tom Gregg. Gonna find u and drop in every chance I get. Tell everyone! What do u think a fins do, idiot?!”
“Tom Gregg should be sued by the public for the precedence of filing such a lame lawsuit. Anyone know this guy in LA? #FindTomGregg”
Gregg's attorney told the LA Times that the fins are so sharp “that some surfers cover them with protective sleeves.”
To use a bit of surfer vernacular, Gregg and his attorney seem like kooks.