Re: Worst damage you have done to yourself .........
Almost did the worst kind of damage to myself on the Jersey shore a few years ago. Saw a guy way out on a sandbar and figured I'd go join him. This sandbar was about 6" under the surface and went about 1/4 mile straight out into the surf. Got out there and fished for a while with the local. He says "I'm going in", I said "I'm gonna stay a little longer", and he says "well, don't stay too long".
Well as you might expect, 20 min became 40 min and on and on, and I probably came back after an hour. I got about half way back in before the water was always above my waist. Tried some different routes back to the beach and none of them had a shallow path. I figured I'll just pick the shallowest and head back to the beach.
That path unfortuanately crossed a deep gut where the newly relocated tide was carving out sand as it went along. I was quickly in over my head and working hard to keep moving while having chest waders, wading jacket, and a plastic stripping basket on, along with trying to keep my rod safely overhead. The surf was gettign the best of me for a while, and I realized that if I didn't chill out and get myself some air now and some dirt to stand on soon, I really could die. I eventually got all of that I needed and got back to the beach, after having been washed about 1/2 mile from where I started. I also got to entertain the beachgoers by doing one-leg-up-handstands to get the water out of the legs of my waders.
Oh yeah, this was in November. The Jersey surf is pretty friggin cold in November.
Morals of the story: listen to the locals, tides move sand (and tides do alot more on the Jersey shore than they do on the Texas Coast)