I launched at 2:30 pm on Superbowl Sunday February 5 at Sugar Cove (my
backyard) with my Bay Area buddy Igor on a 5.8 Neilpryde NR and a
Mistral Beast 85.
Notice the forecast from Sunday night:
700 PM HST SUN FEB 5 2006
A HIGH SURF WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE NORTH AND WEST FACING SHORES
Surf along north facing shores will decline overnight to heights of 20
to 25 feet Monday.
Note the report says -- decline to 20 to 25 feet. It was maybe 30 feet
at Spartan reef on Sunday. I took a big wave, first of the day. I rode
it for a while, and then it closed out. I tried to outrun it, but it
caught me and ripped my gear away. I'm about a mile from shore.
I come out of the spin cycle and I see my board pop up 20 feet
downwind. And I notice that there is no sail! Yikes! I was planning to
get my new equipment a few months earlier and I knew my universal was
worn. I think "so what, I planned to get a new rig next week; the rig
is at the bottom of the sea. I got to get my new board to make it to
shore! Oh, if I had only replaced my worn universal."
I start swimming for the board. I've never had the sail detach, so I
didn't know how fast the board could get away from me. Another wave
came crashing down on me, and my board pops up farther away. Ok, I've
got to swim fast for the board, or I'm in real deep shit. Another wave
comes, and when I come up, I can't see my board. I'm thinking "Ok,
don't panic. You swim in the ocean all the time. The ocean is your
friend." There are no other windsurfers or anybody in the whole ocean
as I can tell! Igor was with me, but he ended going in, maybe because
the wind was light. Nobody can hear me scream, and nobody can see me. I
swim for the shore. I'm aware that if I swim against a current, I could
tire myself out and drown. But I'm so far from shore I can't tell if a
rip is pulling me away from shore, and there are 30 foot waves breaking
a 100 yards out in deeper water. I start swimming for baby beach, but
it seems that I'm not making progress. So I swim toward Sugar Cove,
which is much farther. I really thinking that there is a chance I won't
be able to swim to shore. I start wondering how long I can stay out in
the ocean, especially with the waves and currents. I try to stay calm
and keep swimming. Eventually, I see a lone windsurfer downwind off of
the Spreckelsville launch, maybe 500 yards downwind and toward the
beach from me. Luckily, the guy sees me. At this point, I'm maybe 300
yards from shore. I could probably have swam the rest, but I was so
happy to touch that sailboard and know that I wouldn't die today. The
guy, an intermediate from Holland, tried to tow me. He had difficulty,
so I offered to tow him. I sailed the two of us most of the way to
shore, and then traded with the other guy. I was really tired at this
point. We soon landed on the beach. I was so happy to be alive.
I walked up the beach, and flagged down Igor, who went back out
sailing. If Igor had not went into the beach at the time I was drifting
back, he probably would have seen me. I then ran into Tom Cherry, who
advised me to drive to Camp One and Kanaha looking for the board.
Igor told me that he never saw me go down, and that he thought I was
still out at the upper reef, when in fact somebody else had launched.
After a hot shower, I jumped in my truck. No luck when I drove up to
Camp One. I then got to Kanaha at about 6pm, at the lower reef parking
lot by the lifeguard tower. The first guy I asked about a lost
sailboard hadn't heard anything. I then asked the next guy (I believe
Dave Ezzy) and he said "Yeah, some board washed up on the beach 30
minutes ago." I ran down to the beach, and to my pleasant surprise,
there was my new Mistral Beast, which was pulled in from the lineup at
Kanaha at about 5:30pm, about 2 and a half hours after I lost the
A guy named Axel towed it in. I then talked to Glenn Hasseldorf from
Hot sails. He told me that they were wondering if they should call the
coast guard if nobody showed up for the board by sunset.
Boy, did I feel luck today.
I'm definitely going to do the following:
1. Put my name on my equipment, in case it washes up. That way, the
guys that found my board could have called me before calling the coast
2. Maybe get a marine radio, and flares, if I'm going to sail at
Spartan when it's big. Just having a friend sail with you isn't good
I guess I proved that I can swim to shore for two hours, but I never
want to that again!
The next day, I chatted with the lifeguards at Baldwin. If an accident
ever happens at outer sprecks, a sailor can sail into Baldwin, and the
lifeguards will take out the ski to help a distressed sailor.
The lifeguard also said that they would immediately respond to a flare.
Does anybody have any advice on purchasing either a marine radio or
flares--what products and from where--and what is the best way to attch
them to one's harness?