A Bad Day In The Office

Normen Günzlein explains how he broken his jaw, lost numerous teeth, and had to miss the PWA World Cup in Sylt.


The first word of Normen Günzlein’s injury came when he failed to show up for registration in Sylt. After asking around the freestyle crew as to his whereabouts, the only conclusion was that ‘something must have happened (!)’ as the German ripper was super stoked about the event, and had a solid seventh place finish to build on from the previous PWA freestyle event in Fuerteventura.

As it turned out, the ‘something that had happened’ was an unfortunate and fairly brutal sailing injury that forced Normen to miss the PWA Sylt World Cup.

Here’s the story from Normen:

“The day it happened actually started pretty well. The peaks of the easterly winds hit at approximately 20 knots, and in the morning I had already sail for 3 hours on a lake close to my home.

In the afternoon I decided to go for another session out on the sea, in Fehmarn Wulfen, as the easterlies are normally strongest there. After 20 minutes on the water, it happened.

I saw this windsurfer in the distance heading towards me, I was just on the edge of planing. I decided to head upwind, so that there was more than enough space for him to pass on the leeward side. At this stage I am not planing anymore.
Suddenly I see this guy at full speed getting in trouble, unable to decide on which side he should pass me. As I realized he was totally out of control, he speeds straight at me, there was only time for one final action: I jump backwards in order to have my equipment in front of me for protection.

Unfortunately, this brought me right inline with his board's nose, which shot passed my equipment and hit me on the lefthand side of my jaw. When I surfaced, I was really dizzy, and felt that nothing in my mouth seemed to be in place anymore, blood was everywhere. Three of my teeth were gone too.

Fortunately, two of my friends were nearby and dragged me and my equipment ashore, and called an ambulance. That same night I had an operation in the hospital in Lübeck. My jaw is broken in several places and has to be fixed together with metal plates.”

Apparently Normen will be back on the water in the next few weeks. We wish him the best of luck with his recovery.

Normen Günzlein is sponsored by JP Australia & NeilPryde.

PWA / Andrew Buchanan