David Hasselhoff’s Alter Ego

One can make a complete run through life without making a difference, leaving a footprint or even drawing outside the lines. These lives are generic and boring in every aspect of the word.

Last Thursday I ventured out and by stomping down hard on life, I made my footprint.

I woke up Thursday morning with a groggy head and started to head right to the shower. For some reason though, I decided to increase my self-inflicted misery and checked the surf report for my local surf area in Hampton, NH.

Unfortunately, the waves were six to eight feet tall which resulted in me packing a few essentials and heading down 89 for three hours to Hampton, NH.

The trip was simultaneously the shortest and longest imagineable, but became all worth while when I pulled into the parking lot and peered over the large concrete wall which separated the awestruck spectators from the giddy surfers who threw on wetsuits like young children rush into whatever clothes they can find on their bedroom floor on Christmas morning.

The waves were large, perfect and barreling in a way that Hampton had never seen.

I surfed all afternoon in a state of nirvana while totally ignoring the sub-50 degree water temperatures and 38 degree air temperature coupled with the 20 mph wind.

Soon, my arms began to feel numb as I had paddled most of the afternoon without stopping. I sat on my board taking in the scene and looking for one last wave to ride in to cap off a perfect afternoon.

I then noticed a small figure on the horizon frantically waving his arms at me. After a while I realized he was in distress. He was almost a half mile off shore and it would require a great effort to go out to him. However, I put my head down and began to go out to him.

When I reached him he told me he had dislocated his shoulder and could not paddle back in. He had been drifting for about an hour and now the sun was beginning to sit on the roofs of the weather-beaten beach houses.

I paddled him over to a nearby lobster buoy and told him I would go in and call the Coast Guard to come rescue him.

We exchanged names and before I turned around to go back to the beach he grabbed my hand and looked right into my eyes and said, “Brett, you just saved my life, man.”

I knew at that moment what I needed to do as fast as I could but when I turned around something slipped into my wetsuit that had not been able to poach the waterproof seams all day: Fear.

I was more than half a mile away from the beach and could not see any surfers from where I was. I was staring right into the wind and now I was so scared my arms were barely functioning. ‘How am I going to save Tan’s life if I can’t even save my own?’ I asked myself.

By some unknown miracle, I made it back into the beach. It wasn’t pretty but somehow my legs were able to run up the beach and notify everyone there of the surfer in distress.

I immediately called the Coast Guard giving them all the necessary information to make the rescue just as the red sky was changing over to a dark purple.

The point I am trying to make here is: Take a day off and go surfing. And while you’re there, don’t be afraid to take a chance to make a difference in your life and someone else’s.