A surf photographer in Hawaii lost his surfboard when out surfing one day at Waimea Bay on the Island of Oahu in February of 2018 and feared that it was gone forever. That was, until a few weeks ago when it washed up on a tiny island in the Philippines roughly 5,200 miles away.
35-year-old Dough Falter told Surfline that his leash came off, and the board vanished when he was surfing at Waimea Bay. He feared the worst, but put up posters, signs, and social media posts anyway, asking for anyone to report information of the missing board if they encountered it. Two years passed and he heard nothing.
But then the unthinkable happened: Giovanne, a teacher in the Philippines, contacted Falter’s shaper, Lyle Carlson, about three weeks ago telling him that he had his board!
“You could barely tell it was my board, but you could tell it was mine,” Doug Falter said. “It was kind of a real bummer when I lost it because that board meant so much to me. But now it means, even more, knowing that it might go in the hands of a guy that wants to learn how to surf.”
Falter hopes to meet the man who found it and teach him how to surf once some of the travel restrictions are lifted, Hawaii News Now reports. He has set up a GoFundMe to ship some surfing supplies to Giovanne and his students so they can all get stoked on surfing.
Falter wrote in an Instagram post,
“Feb 3rd, 2018 I remember I counted seven good rides that session. After catching so many waves I finally wiped out on one and my @lylecarlsonsurfboards board floated away after the leash came off my ankle at around 6:00 pm. I swam as hard as I could to try and get to it. I ran from one end of Waimea Bay across to the other side and scaled the rocks trying to get a visual until it was completely dark. I was really upset as I managed to catch the biggest waves of my life on this board. Thats why it meant so much to me. My hope was that a fisherman might find it. I heard Kauai was a possible landing spot for lost boards like mine. Having never heard from anyone I figured it was lost at sea. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. @lylecarlsonsurfboards posted about a man finding my board in the Philippines and contacting Lyle via Facebook. Mind you- This is 5,200 miles away! Apparently he bought it from a fisherman to learn how to surf. As bummed as I was when I lost it, now I am happy to know my board fell into the hands of someone wanting to learn the sport. I couldn’t imagine a better ending to this story than to see the sport of surfing begin in a place where nobody surfs. If it weren’t for travel restrictions I would have raised money to bring boards for learning and surf supplies and be on a plane to go and visit Giovanne. I could teach him how to surf and hopefully a few of his 144 students. He is in charge of a school on the islands where my board is and i’m sure some of the kids would love to learn. I guess this means for now the most I can do is raise money to send him a goodie package with wax, leashes, books and magazines for his students to learn english. I just priced out shipping for a box big enough for a couple surfboards and it was 600 USD to go almost all the way to where he is. So at the very least for now I want to send the necessities. We are at about 1,000 dollars. Every penny will go to this cause and Im so excited to put a package together! Thank you to everyone who has donated. It means so much!”