Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

      

Knotical Knews #26: “NOAA’s Arc”

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   How can something that starts out with the best intentions wind up almost costing a human life? I am of course referring to the recently imposed NOAA ban on jet-skis in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary ( http://montereybay.noaa.gov/ ) including Half Moon Bay and the surf spot known as Maverick's.

   We were fortunate to have on the air this past Saturday the world renown surf photographer and Australian firefighter, Russell Ord to talk about this very subject. If you listened to the show (http://worldofboating.com/audio/1-29-11/WOB_1-29-11_HOUR2.mp3 ) or have followed our postings on Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/worldofboating ) you will be familiar with this story but for those of you who aren't…..shame on you!

   To recap Russell Ord was out at Maverick's taking pictures of the surfers. He was on a borrowed jet-ski and there are two surfers today that are thankful that he was there in defiance or ignorance of the ban. It seems that most of the surfer's were taking advantage of some clean inside sets when on the horizon a monster 25′ set came in. What do you do in that situation? If you are close to shore you get on the beach. If you are too far out to make it in you turn yourself towards the waves and start paddling like crazy in an effort to either “duck dive” under or get up and over the incoming waves.

Jacob Trette paddles for the horizon on the green surboard (middle of the picture) right before he is taken over the falls.

 

   What happens if you don't make it? Jacob Trette found out the hard way and it almost killed him. After the monster set had cleared out Russell spotted surfer Alex Bottello in trouble amongst the rocks and sped in and was in the process of bringing him to shore when a kayaker alerted them to the lifeless body of Jacob Trette. Russell maneuvered the jet-ski, which was set up with a rescue sled for just such an emergency, towards Jacob's body. Being a trained firefighter he knew what he had to do which at that point was get in the water and get Jacob's body onto the rescue sled. A quick check of his vitals showed that he had a pulse and Russell wasted no time in putting Jacob into the “recovery position” and climbed back onto the jet-ski and brought both surfers in. As of this posting Jacob was released from the hospital after five days, a few of which were spent in a medically induced coma. He is lucky, and thankful, to be alive.

   So what does this have to do with a well intentioned law leading to possibly disastrous consequences? The law is set in place to help preserve our natural resources and I think that you will find most boater's and surfer's among the most ardent supporters of protecting those waters upon which they engage in their form of recreation. As Russell pointed ot there has always been an informal relationship between the photographers on the beach and those in the water. They communicate via walkie talkie and the ones on the beach would alert those on the water to a surfer that may be in need of assistance. It would seem that what most all involved with surfing  this spot agree on is that it is a “drop-in” wave. In essence a wave that you have to paddle for using only your body. What they don't want to see is the use of jet-skis for “tow-ins” that is being towed behind the jet-ski and then dropping in on the wave. It makes it easier but it also increases the danger to the rest of the surfers in the area as well as potential damage to the ocean's ecosystem prevalent in the Marine Sanctuary.

   The ban against jet-skis should not be overturned but it does need to be amended so that in a place where there aren't any active duty lifeguards(!) there would be a few trained jet-ski operators like Russell Ord in place to provide assistance if needed. Maverick's after all was the very surf spot that took the life of veteran big-wave surfer Mark Foo in December 1994.

  For Russell's interview on CBS where he was actually awake because he was still in California and not back home in Western Australia like when we called him at 3am click the link below. The video interview includes footage of the waves that day at Maverick's.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/01/25/earlyshow/main7280891.shtml

Anyone up for a “Hidden In Plain Sight” bonus feature?

If you are up for such a thing may I direct your attention to  the following video clip from this past Saturday's show.

“MOO” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHOhlL4fitw

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