Bay Area
On Saturday I Lost MY Ski.

It was absolutely devastating to say the least. The last two days I have been completely crushed. After spending almost all my free time perfecting, upgrading, and tuning my pet project. It was all gone in a matter of minutes.

The low down......

It was a fairly large day in the surf but not super crazy and not the biggest I had ridden. But I have only still just spent a handful of days in the surf in my total of three years riding skis. I feel like I have always been a strong swimmer and I spent my youth in the ocean so I like to think I am comfortable and can hold my own. I have spent almost three days a week riding and have many hours of tray time. I finally graduated from a 550 to a 701 SuperJet and onto a TigerCraft finally, and have loved the progression.

On Saturday we drove down to Pismo Beach California to ride for the day. The waves were 6-8' solid with occasional 10-12' and the back sets were pretty massive and powerful. It was a sunny 65 degrees and almost no wind. I was out with two of my friends. One who spends three days a week in the surf and the other was his first time in the ocean.

I had gone out prior in the day but stayed safe in the front if the breakers and the in the white wash as to watch out for my friend who was out for his first time. And to just get a feel for the day and the cadence of the wave sets.

After a short break we all headed back out. Knowing that both my friends and I were felling comfortable, I felt like it was time to go out back and see what the swells had in store. That was where I went wrong.

I did not have a large enough safety factor. A newbie, and one other surf veteran who would clearly not be paying undivided attention to my where abouts. I did not communicate that I was going out. I just saw a opportunity and took it.

Zipping back and fourth and in and out jumping a few waves and running away and around a few. I eventually found the back sets. Clean, large, I mean real large. And absolutely perfectly timed ten to fifteen seconds apart. not stacked or blown over at all. I jumped a few and was having the time of my life. I just landed and was riding in between sets and came along side a big wave that I wanted nothing to do with. But it was coming in close and I needed to outrun it and get away. As I began to turn away and hit the throttle my ski died....

I had one second to look down and see my lanyard had pulled out!

I was F*C*ED.....

I screamed out Oh Sh*t and the last frame you see on my go pro is me half way up the twelve foot barrel trying to counter lean into the wave and holding on for dear life.

Seconds seemed like minutes under water as I was picked up and body slammed into my ski. Smashing my ribs into the hull and splitting my chin wide open. (yes I had a full face helmet on). I stayed conscious as I popped up in the ocean finally. I saw my ski at least 30 feet away. I didn't even have a chance to look back before I was hit again with another huge wave. Thrown under and being tossed in the ocean like a rag doll. Massive wave after wave continued to pummel me. I kept losing sight of my ski. Further and further I was separated and my only means of safety was slowly drifting away. I struggled with all my energy to just stay calm and try to time my breath and keep aware of my surroundings. My life jacket barely held me afloat with all the current and undertow. My helmet filled with water and the chin strap choking me from being ripped around on my head in the unrelenting current.

At one point my ski was miraculously within ten feet of my and I swam feverishly to retrieve it. But at that point I knew. She was gone. After about five minutes and twenty or so sets of abuse she was nose down and only showing her rear six to eight inches. I did all I could to just swim to it without dying. And then another massive wave came and swept me further away and that was the last I saw of her.

Within a fer more minutes, which seemed like hours I was desperate. I was screaming for help in vain knowing in my head that I had severely licoriceed up and now I may be paying the ultimate price. My friends had no idea where I was or what the situation had become. The thought crossed my mind that I could very well die. But I did not give up. I remained calm and tried to time the waves and my breath.

Finally my friend who was out for the first time in the surf boosted up over a wave and was within twenty or so feet. A moment of hope came through and he yelled to me "what do I do"! I was delirious and desperate. Not wanting to die, yet hoping there was still salvation for my ski I waved him off. I pointed in the last direction I knew I saw my ski and prayed.....(the friend with surf experience lost his throttle cable while I was out attempting to die and was on the beach frantically fixing his ski to help while this is going on)......

Another five minutes passed.

I could not hold on much longer. I knew my friend was out there. But As I grew weaker and weaker, and the ocean just seemed to keep pulling me out into the worst spot possible being cracked on by monster waves. I was at the point of exhaustion.

Finally my friend comes back and I can hear the desperation in his voice. "I don't know what to do"! I reply back with my last scream of absolute despair. "SAVE ME"!

Seconds later I am holding his foot as we race away. I get pulled back by another wave. So weak and unable to hold on. I get tossed around some more. Another pass..... I grab a hold of his life vest this time. I yell "Punch It"! and I hold on for dear life. As I see another wave about to swallow us.....

Again it rips me of and sends me for a few. I finally am able to feel and stand on solid sand! I try as hard as I can to make it to shore but I collapse in the final two feet of water. My friend returns, running over and picks me up and helps me to our truck.

My chin is split wide open and my ribs bruised. I am shaking and practically puking up all the salt water I ingested. I cant barely stand and am so weak. But I am Alive. I am safe. And the ski is gone.

My friends immediately are in the water searching but it is all to late. No sign of the ski. Sunk. Pulled out to sea.

Devastated I filled a report with the park rangers. and watched the waves for hours wishing to see a glimmer of hope. Nothing. With my chin oozing blood and my pride destroyed I went to the hospital to receive six stitches to my face.

Has anyone else experienced losing a ski in the ocean?

Did You get it back?

How long?

What was the damage?

Moving forward.
I will never ride out in the big swells again without having multiple partners at my side.
I will never use a lanyard in the surf again.
I will only use a high quality U.S.C.G. approved vest that is up to date and fits
I will insure my ski before I take it into the surf

I hope people can take advantage of my loss and my experience to realize that things go wrong when you least expect them to. Situations become much more serious than you may intend. And your life is never worth a ski. I was foolish in many ways and payed dearly for it. Please don't be like me.



No Risk It, No Bisquick
Charlotte, NC
Wow don’t know what to say. I felt like I was living it with every sentence I read. poop happens so fast in the ocean. I nearly lost a ski a year ago towing in someone and we got wrapped around a fishing boat anchored in the current. There is no force like mother nature. Hope it shows back up and somewhat salvageable and glad you made it back to shred another day
very sorry for your loss and glad you made it !the ocean is one crazy place to be!
i use a lanyard and also have one of the freerideZ starter levers ,i use it all the time when i fall and lanyard come off i dont ever try to installe the lanyard in the surf until i am up and going !
that article you wrote was like i was their and seeing it in person great job on that!
Good Luck. I ride a bit myself alone...but on a river. Lanyard is not your friend. Turn the Idle to zero and zip tie that puppy. I've pulled them out "mid river" and "mid roller" but not nearly to your level.

Skis can be replaced.

High Speed Industries

Your one stop shop for quality parts @highspeedind
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