(Esquire Philippines) A lost surfboard in Hawaii floated 8,500 kilometers across the Pacific Ocean and bridged a friendship between its original owner Doug Falter from Hawaii and its new owner Giovanne Branzeula from the Philippines.
Falter was surfing in Hawaii in 2018 when a wave wiped him out and separated him from his surfboard. Although he tried to recover his precious board, the waves were too strong and swept it farther away.
"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," said Falter in an Instagram post.
"I was really upset as I managed to catch the biggest waves of my life on this board."
But as fate would have it, the surfboard found its way to the Philippines two years later where it would be plucked out of the water by a fisherman. The fisherman then sold the surfboard to Branzeula, a grade school teacher in a school in Saranggani Province.
The periwinkle surfboard, which now has a yellow-brown tinge, had a logo etched on its by its maker, Lyle Carlson. Branzuela googled the name, and the search results brought him to the Instagram posts of Falter looking for his missing surfboard. When Branzuela contacted Falter, they were able to confirm that the surfboard was indeed the one Falter lost in 2018.
When the two finally met through video call, Falter told Branzuela to keep the board and take care of it. During the call, Branzuela told Falter about his work and how he is working hard to provide school supplies to his students.
Upon hearing that, Falter set up a crowdfunding account and has raised more than $1,000 as of this writing.
"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," said Falter.
"I couldn't imagine a better ending to this story than to see the sport of surfing begin in a place where nobody surfs," he added.