Lying in his hospital bed with broken ribs, cracked vertebrae, and a collapsed lung after being run over by a boat while going for a paddle, New Zealander Tim Grammer says he “couldn’t be any luckier”. The former international multisport athlete was out with some friends on their ocean racing skis in Christchurch’s Lyttelton Harbour on Saturday afternoon. Grammer, 55, told the Herald the group had paddled into the wind before turning around and heading towards their next marker when he heard a boat coming from behind. “I looked around and thought ‘oh he’s heading straight at me’, so I tried to turn left to get out of the way and I realised I’m not fast enough to get out of the way,” he recalled on Monday. “It was just sheer terror building up in my mind the horrific thought of the bow of the boat coming over the top of me at full speed.” ‘Biofoul’: cruise passengers stranded as Australia protects its waters The bow hit his back, pushing him under the water as it went over him. When he resurfaced, he saw his fibreglass ski split in two. “The first thing I did was ‘can I feel my legs, is my spine severed, and have I got any major cuts from the propellers’. “It was just this big wash of relief over me that I could still feel my legs.” He then called out to the boat, which had stopped about 20m away, and asked them to help him. “I kind of knew I didn’t have any major injuries but I knew something was wrong and I needed to get to the hospital real quick.” The boat returned to him and he was dragged on board. Grammer recalled lying on the floor of the boat struggling to breathe. “I thought I was going to suffocate and die in the boat. I was trying to suck in air and I was terrified.” If I didn’t have my life jacket on the spinal damage would’ve been a lot worse. I couldn’t be any luckier Paddler Tim Grammer Eventually, they were able to get to the boat ramp where an ambulance then took him to Christchurch Hospital. Grammer had a cut to his head which required stitches, four broken ribs, a punctured and collapsed lung, and several cracked vertebrae. He remained in hospital on Monday, and expects his recovery to take a couple of months. “If I didn’t have my life jacket on the spinal damage would’ve been a lot worse … I couldn’t be any luckier. It’s like a death situation, isn’t it.” He’s determined he will get back in the water as soon as he’s allowed.