SAN FRANCISCO
01/24/2013 11:56 pm ET | Updated Mar 26, 2013

Mike Parsons Injured: Famous Big Wave Surfer Breaks His Neck At Ocean Beach

They may look pretty, but even the most seasoned of surfers need to take caution when playing in the behemoth waves at Ocean Beach.

Hall of Fame-ranked surfer Mike Parsons broke his neck and nearly drowned while surfing in the area over the weekend. Parsons once held the world record for the biggest wave ever surfed.

According to the Ocean Beach Bulletin, the waves Parsons got stuck in on Sunday were nearly triple-overhead in size. He broke the largest vertebra in his neck, the C7.

"My head hit the water really hard," he told Surfline. "I thought I was paralyzed under water."

Parsons was saved by his flotation device and a fellow surfer carried him to dry land. He was wheeled off the beach in a gurney and will be forced to wear a neck brace for the next six weeks, but he is expected to make a full recovery.

"I was so lucky," he said. "I don't know if I would have survived without the flotation."

The surf legend's accident occurred just one day before the revered Mavericks Surf Invitational in Half Moon Bay, which drew dozens of the best athletes from around the world to compete.

Take a look at images from Mavericks below:

Mavericks 2013

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