Shellharbour Mayor Chris Homer had a good excuse for missing Tuesday night's council meeting - he was in hospital with a severed tendon and smashed bones in his foot.
On Sunday, Mayor Homer went out for a surf at Woonona, before heading back to catch a wave or two in the waters off Wollongong Golf Course.
He rated the place as "one of the best beach breaks in the world" and was hoping to get inside a few tubes.
He saw his chance with his last ride of the day, but what started out looking like a great tube ended up with a wipeout.
"When I was underwater I felt a really bad bang on my left foot," Mayor Homer said.
"I thought I'd just kicked the rail of my board, and I thought I'd broken a toe. As I came up out of the water I stuck my left foot up to have a look and I saw this big gaping white gash with tendons and bone in front of my eyes."
Mayor Homer's left foot had come into contact with the rear edge of his board's fin - which he said was sharp "like a hatchet" - and left him with a deep cut running between the big and middle toes.
"It's cut deep enough and with enough force to cut through my tendons of my second toe and smashed through the bone, smashing it into eight pieces," he said.
"It almost cut my second toe off."
Surfer and friend Levi Gibson was at the beach and saw Mayor Homer raising his foot trying to get out of the water. Mr Gibson and another beachgoer chaired him up the beach and onto the golf course.
"I was going into shock," Mayor Homer said.
"I'm a lifeguard so I know about that and I know how to manage that. So I told the guys to lay me down on the golf course. I elevated my leg and managed the shock while they were calling an ambulance."
He was taken to Wollongong Hospital where he stayed for several nights as the injury was cleaned out and then a specialist orthopaedic surgeon was called in to wire up the fragments of bone and deal with the severed tendons.
At the moment, Mayor Homer is hobbling around in a special boot and expects a fairly fast recovery. While he was already back into his mayoral duties, it might be a while before he gets back on the surfboard.
"I've been surfing since I was five," he said.
"I've been a semi-professional surfer. I've had a lot of injuries, the kinds of injuries a footy player has. I've dislocated my shoulder, I've blown out my knee in big surf, broken ribs and I've had all manner of gashes.
"But I'm 55 going on 56 now and it's hard because I still surf with a 25-year-old mindset out there. I thought a lot about this in hospital and I may have to adjust my view on high-risk waves and get a little bit more of a self-preservation style."
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