It was back in February 2018 that Doug Falter lost his light blue gray Lyle Carlson surfboard while riding a huge wave at the Waimea Bay in Hawaii. It was his favorite board and he tried finding it but was not able to, even if he posted to ask help on Facebook.
“It was the biggest day of surf I’ve ever experienced. I fell on a wave and the board came off my leg. I climbed all the way across the rocks as far as I could to see if I could find it and I couldn’t,” Doug said.
The board is precious to Doug. He tried his best to find it but the strong undertow had carried it off to sea.
“LOST BOARD!!! Please share! I was surfing Waimea tonight and lost my board around 6:30pm. My board floated off into the channel and kept on going. There is a solid chance it washed up somewhere on the beach or on the rocks between Waimea and Haleiwa. If anyone sees a light bluish grey Lyle Carlson surfboard washed up please message me or call me,” Doug wrote on Facebook, adding his number.
But no one called him to return the board. No one messaged him. Not until 2 years later when a teacher from the Philippines searched the internet for the person who previously owns the board he bought from a fisherman.
Teacher Giovanne is the teacher-in-charge at an elementary school in Barangay Ibran on Balut Island, Sarangani in southern Philippines. He wanted to learn how to surf but did not have the budget to buy a surfboard as these could be quite expensive.
One day, a fisherman named Abdul offered him a brown surfboard for Php2,000. So, he bought it. The fisherman found it while fishing but thought at first that it was part of a sunken ship.
Curious as to who might own the surfboard, the teacher searched for the boardmaker’s name, Lyle Carson, and was soon connected to Doug who was quite amazed that his board had traveled 5,200 miles (8,400 km) to the Philippines.
At first, Doug could not believe it – and the board now looks brown, not light blue-gray as it used to. But he confirmed with Giovanne that it had his name written at the back.
After chatting up with the teacher and learning that the island had very limited supplies of books and other materials for the school, Doug did not hesitate to launch a fundraising campaign to send much-needed supplies to this teacher who now owns his board!
Doug also promised to travel to the Philippines when COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted – not to get the surfboard back but to teach Giovanne how to surf. Wow!