Wind Surfing Creator Rescued by Coast Guard
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The man credited with inventing the sport of wind surfing was rescued from the waters off Santa Catalina Island when he tried to surf 20 miles from the mainland to the island, authorities said.
″I was a little chagrined to be pulled out of the water,″ said Jim Drake, 59. ″The great wind surfer himself 3/8″
″That guy ought to get down on his knees and pray to God that he was saved,″ Coast Guard Lt. Robert Randall said after the rescue late Wednesday night. ″It was close.″
Drake, who lives in the seaside city of Santa Monica, said he set out at noon Wednesday from Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro to test an experimental new craft called the ″Water Spyder.″
The craft is an elongated sailboard with a small outrigger on each side, designed for stability on long-distance excursions.
An escort boat was following as Drake, who had twice before wind surfed to the island and back to the mainland, left with another surfer.
About halfway to the island’s Isthmus Cove, Drake said he became confident in the performance of the new equipment and traded the board for the conventional rig his companion, Kaz Yamada, was using.
The escort boat then set off after Yamada, expecting to meet Drake on shore later, but he failed to arrive.
He was spotted four miles from the island at about 8:30 p.m. by a county lifeguard patrol boat working with a Coast Guard helicopter.
Drake, an engineer, and his former partner, Hoyle Schweitzer, obtained the first patent for a sailboard in 1970.