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October 23, 2008


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Ahhhh, music from 1979! The only thing these days I would want from that year is a "I survived TMI" t-shirt!

My favorite part of the song is the line where "pretty girls hanging round my neck..." near 1:16 into the song.

Great find! Yet definitely a music era we should try to forget, especially specific to windsurfing! : )

I'm using this song in the next video I make.

I'm stunned!.....or maybe you should just shot me with a stun gun.....nope, I think I'll go outside and sit under the palm tree a drink a bottle of tequila.

Awesome! That is a super great song, I just played it over about 5 times and downloaded the video from youtube so I can watch it whenever I want (youtube downloader program). Amazing! I especially enthralled with the girl in the high white boots, but I wonder what she looks like now!

Ever heard the song "Windsurfer" by Roy Orbison on his "Mystery Girl" album? now that's a windsurfing song! "flyin' in the sun" goes through my head a thousand times a day. or Johnny Lipps's "Boardhead" album? or Randy Naish and the Ultronz? all great windsurfing music. then, there is the classic movie "The Windsurfer" co-starring, of all people, Nicole Kidman, when she was a young skinny kid, although she is naked in this film. its about a rich kid who gets his daddy's company to make him a trick board and sail to win a big competition, and he gets Nicole Kidman along the way. I own a copy of it, its so bad, its awesome!

Yesterday turned our fine, but a friend was close to not making it home. I was sailing with him in strong onshore breeze and an outgoing tide. He was sailing back and forth on the inside and closer to shore than me. After sailing for 30 minutes, I lost sight of him. I looked around and didn’t see him and thought that he went further up the river or back to shore. I sailed around the mouth of the river in logo high waves, but still didn’t see him. I was sure he was still on the inside between me and the beach.

About 40 minutes after I last saw him, another friend came out asked where the other guy went. Now knowing that he wasn’t on land, I started looking for him actively rather than passively. I followed the wind direction figuring that he would be blown towards land in the direction of the wind. I spend about 25 minutes with binoculars up the mouth of the river and on the ajecent shores with no luck. I then called the Stratford police, who called the Milford Police and Coast Guard.

As it turns out, he was in the water from when I first lost sight of him. He was trying to water start but could not due to the wind, wave and current action. The waves were very large and he was getting washed and the current was taking him offshore, despite the 25-30 MPH onshore winds.

After realizing that he was unable to get sailing again and still getting dragged offshore, he decided that he would cut his rig and paddle back to shore on his board. This didn’t work. The board was less stable without the rig and he was getting washed. After three rolls in the waves, his board got away from him. He said “in one breath, it was 20 feet away and in two it was gone.” He tried floating, swimming, etc and became fatigued and somewhat disoriented. He was pretty sure that he was not going to make it back to shore. Fortunately, he was ultimately able to get to a spot where he was on a sand bar and walked back in to shore. The Stratford police were there and they called me to tell me that they had him.

As I reflect on the events, and having witnessed a fatality several years ago, I again think about what went wrong. First, while we definitively use the buddy system, we are too lax. I thought he went to shore to re rig or up the river without telling me because that is a common event. How often do I do that? I would say several times a session.

This day had warm water and strong onshore winds. When I was looking, I was not really concerned. I thought that he may be on the Milford shore waiting for a ride home. It never occurred to me that he may have been pulled out by the tide. I didn’t call the police initially because it seemed so unlikely that he could be in trouble given the conditions. That delay could have been a critical mistake. (Also, I am also reluctant to call the police think that there was virtually no risk (wrong) knowing that it causes heightened attention to the risks of our sport)

So, the buddy system has to be tighter in terms of communication. If I thought he was out there initially, I would have kept an eye out for him and likely found him in the waves. He would not have been struggling for what turned out to be around an hour. After the initial scan of the beach and river (maybe 5 minutes) I should have called the police. Of course, if the buddy system was working better, I would not have lost him for 40 minutes in the beginning.

He cut his rig in hopes of paddling to shore, that didn’t work and may have been a critical mistake. If the sail was on the board, it would have been much more stable and slower to move once out of the current of the river. He had no life hacked or floatation and was fatigued, his legs cramped etc. I life jacked would have totally changed the risk for him. Even an inflatable life hacked that could be rolled up and put in a fanny pack would have been a huge help. He had no cell phone (not sure when he would have been able to use it, but maybe he could have at some point). Maybe with a phone, he would have been less concerned about getting back to shore and could have ridden the current to flatter water. He had no strobe, whistle or reflective material. At one point when I was driving, it started raining a bit, how would the coast guard find him in the water in those conditions with nothing to get their attention? In the mouth of the river, the waves were logo high.

I have put some of the basics in a fanny pack and sailed without any interference whatsoever. I have stopped doing that, but will go back to it.

Bottom line, some pretty basic rules and equipment could have changed the level of risk significantly. You could say that his skill level was the issue, but this could have been any one of us with a breakdown of gear. I have had equipment fail four times, once the universal pin sheered off, once the carbon mast extension broke (brand new), once a mast broke, and once both sides of my boom broke (after flipping it over to try to get back to shore). So let’s rechallenge our approach, especially as winter arrives and the risk increases.

OMFG! This is incredible. I am speechless. Then it got to the end and it was on German TV.

Don't get me wrong I like Germany and Germans a lot but they have death-defyingly poor taste in pop music. Two words: The Hoff

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    "It's good to have a shredmobile" my friend Caldwell said, so I made one. It's a Ford E150 cargo van done up with lumber and k-mart plastic boxes.