We had our son, Luca’s party on Saturday. He turned 1. We treated all our friends with great food, FOSTERS, Becks, James King, Kaapzicht, BLANKbottle etc. while their children were enjoying the party.

We had 20 children and 40 friends at our house. ABSOLUTE Chaos! After a MASSIVE cleaning operation I was sitting on the couch relaxing. It was around 4pm on Saturday. Most people left by then and there were only family left. I said to Aneen (my wife) that I am going to lie down a bit. She knows me well and knows the only thing that will energize me, is if I go surfing. So she said “why don’t you rather go surfing”. Even though I was exhausted and I knew that the waves are bad, I immediately felt that it is the right thing to do. At that stage I knew that the swell is big and that the sea is stormy. The wind was blowing onshore (the wrong wind for surfing). I put my wetsuit on and grabbed my new FOSTERS board. When I arrived at the beach there were no surfers in the water. The wind just turned a bit which made it unfavorable for the kite surfers and they all left as well. The beach therefore deserted, no one in the water, the sea stormy, big swell, strong currents and therefore not good for surfing. I however felt that I still need to go surf.

I jogged down the beach and looked for a potential sandbank with a peak to surf. About 200m down the beach I found a peak that looked like a wave. I paddled out and surfed. Around 5 o’clock I was sitting way deep into the ocean waiting for the next set. My eye caught a black thing in the water a distance into the see from where I was sitting. It then vanished in between the swells and then I saw it again. But this time I could see a hand next to it. I immediately realized that there is someone drowning. I started paddling towards him deeper into the ocean. The current was pulling strong into the sea and he was stuck in it. I realized that there was no swimmers close buy, so he must have been out there for quite some time. When I was about 30 meters from him he saw me coming and made another attempt to stay afloat for another few seconds. When I got to him I could see that he has no strength left in his muscles. He could not really talk much at that stage so I dragged him onto my surfboard. After some resting he told me his name is Rudi or Ryan, I am not to sure right now, and that him and a friend went swimming more than a kilometer up the beach. They got caught in a current and after some time his friend managed to get out OK.

He has been there for long. I then swam next to my surfboard with him lying on it. For the first bit we were behind the breaking waves. When we arrived where the waves started breaking, I realized that he is just too tired to swim on his own. We therefore took the breaking waves on with him lying on my board and me next to him. I threw my arms over him and held him onto the surfboard. After a few beatings we slowly washed to the shore. Rudi/Ryan was too tired to walk. So after we stood there a while and a guy who saw this happening from his beachfront apartment helped him from there.

I therefore do not really believe in luck. I could feel an urgency that I had to surf right then. I believe that God instructed me (and my FOSTERS board) to go surfing and I feel small and privileged that he could use me and entrusted me with another man’s life.

Greg and FOSTERS: Thanks again for the board. The picture is always bigger than one think. I thought it was only meant to surf with.

E-mail: pieter@blankbottle.co.za
Telephone: +27 (0)82 872 8658

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