Friday, November 26, 2010

A surfer encountered the freaque wave

I think we can all agree that of all walks of people, surfers are basically the ones that have most encounters with waves so that they may be regarded as the ones that know more about waves than most others in general, especially the nearshore surf waves. But when they are on board a vessel that encounters a freaque wave attack, do they have more insight on waves than ordinary people? May be!

Yesterday there was an article in the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot written by the well known surfer James Pribram:

Last night was the first night I slept more than four hours. We have been stuck in gale force winds for more than a week now, with frequent downpours and churning seas.

Two days ago while on watch, I was up on the deck by myself. I had just sat down, turning my head around over my left shoulder and swoosh — a rogue wave washed me clear across the deck and onto the other side of the helm.

I'm not sure if I would have been washed overboard, because I was able to grab on with my right hand and then my left, jerking me back. Even so, thankfully, I had just clipped in my harness before taking the wave at full blast.

My whole right side is a bit bruised, swollen and sore from holding on. I ended up lying on my back with the entire gully of seawater emptying out on top of me. I thought I was dreaming; it all happened so quickly. I remember thinking, "Just hold on. Let the water drain out and you'll be fine.

"Nothing was floating through my mind (no pun intended) at the time. No great revelations of life. Just a very clear vision of water pouring on top of me, like some sort of baptism. Time had slowed to an almost halt. In a strange way it felt very empowering.

There's a reason why I always say "I love you" to those I care for most. Because you never know when it will be your last time to say it. Especially on a journey in the middle of the ocean. Searching for the fourth gyre I had but one thought, one vision that day. Well, two, actually.

One: of treading water and watching the sailboat sail off into the distance.

Two: of a clean ocean one day.


It's not a long article so I quoted it here in full. It is of interest to note that he was really encountered the freaque wave in action and he provided the detailed action in detail: "I had just sat down, turning my head around over my left shoulder and swoosh — a rogue wave washed me clear across the deck and onto the other side of the helm." Ouch! He was out there by himself so no one corroborate him. We will certainly not have any doubt about the fact that a freaque wave washed him clear across the deck. It was out of nowhere, he did not seen it.. Just "swoosh" and there was the freaque wave. We can not expect any more detailed description than that. That was what really had happened. But still we have no idea what the wave was, where did it come from, and how and why it happened. That's the state of our knowledge. The only thing certain is that it had happened! He was bruised, swollen and sore. Otherwise I tend to think that he was very lucky. "Just a very clear vision of water pouring on top" of him. We appreciate that he shears this story with the rest of us. We wish all the encounters can be as lucky and able to recall what had happened. That may not be helpful to the research, still knowing what had happened is better than leave to theoretician's imaginations. Thanks to Mr. Pribram for an inspiring as well as philosophical article telling us what had happened to himself. May the luck be with him always!

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