Bruce Hansel to the rescue again

So your blog correspondent, who after several operations and a bunch of decades of life is getting old and slow to his feet, broke his two longboards this past wet season and has been without one for 6 weeks. He has his normal mals and mini-mals at an outer island, his usual Go To place, where he hasn’t Gone To in some time (putting kid through college = broke). Finally having scraped enough money together (well, it’s called a credit card, he doesn’t have to scrape it together for a month), this past week he went through the byways and bowels of Kuta in search of another longboard.

Interesting discovery (for surfboards before I’ve always had friends and family bring out well-known labels or personally known shapers): few used longboards for sale. Most of the new ones are shaped locally with labels I don’t know. At full $700-$800 price, too.

So starting to get sweaty and bewildered, one of those “aw screw it, it’s not meant to happen”, I by chance stumbled across a familiar name on a lovely looking longboard. Bruce Hansel! A sign from God. Search thee no more. Not to mention the price was right.

hansel board

hansel board2

Anyway, BH is an old Indo hand. He has some stories to tell, I’m sure. Here’s one, Google-found, about one of his surfing exploits from 25 years ago:

From the LA Times, August 24, 1988

A small cruise ship adrift in the Indian Ocean since its engine failed nearly two weeks ago was found by search crews, and all 10 members of a surfing expedition–including two from Southern California men–were alive and well, Indonesian officials reported.

The Southland residents are Troy Alotis, 22, of Dana Point and Chad Beatty, 30, of Redondo Beach.

“They were spotted by our patrol boat just off the coast of Krui in southern Sumatra and we are bringing them back to Jakarta today,” Col. Manurung, spokesman for the Indonesian national search and rescue team, told United Press International.

Krui is 150 nautical miles from Penaitan Island, where the vessel, Tirta Kencana, was abandoned Aug. 13 by Danny Camplin, 30, of Redondo Beach, and Bruce Hansel of Hawaii, who paddled for help on their surfboards.

Left drifting aboard the 40-foot converted fishing vessel were three crew members, two Australians, an Indonesian and four Americans.

Camplin, Beatty and Alotis had come to Indonesia in early July on a surfing expedition and had chartered the boat with the group for trips to unspoiled surfing waters. Carrying food and water for a six-day expedition, the group set off Aug. 10 from Labuan on the island of Java, and experienced engine trouble on Aug. 13.

Beatty’s mother, Marge Wilkins, told United Press International from her home in Salt Lake City that she was informed late Tuesday by an embassy official in Jakarta that the group had been found and all were safe.

“They said the Indonesian coast guard is sending a boat to pick them up and they’ll be in Jakarta within 12 hours,” she said.

“(The official) was very sure it was them and that they are safe,” she said.

Hansel and Camplin left the boat shortly after the engine failure had left its passengers stranded in the Sunda Strait that separates the islands of Java and Sumatra.

“We were drifting away from shore so fast we decided to jump off and go for it,” said Camplin, a 30-year-old professional diver.

“We paddled our surfboards for three hours against strong currents before reaching Penaitan island,” he said.

After reaching shore, Camplin Hansel hiked for a day and a half before finding a ranger station, according to friends in Redondo Beach who have spoken to Camplin.

Camplin and Hansel alerted Indonesian authorities, who dispatched air and sea search crews Aug. 16, Cassell said.

The Australian navy, a U.S. Navy jet and a plane owned by the American Embassy had joined the Indonesian military in the search, according to State Department spokeswoman Frances Jones. An Orion P3 long range maritime patrol plane flew in Tuesday from Diego Garcia naval base in the Indian Ocean to comb the waters around Penaitan Island, about 80 miles west of Jakarta.

Camplin and Beatty have visited Indonesia the past several summers on surfing trips, according to Chris Tronolone of Redondo Beach, who joined the pair in previous years and for several weeks this summer.

The trip to the west end of Java was to be the final excursion of the surfing vacation, said Tronolone, who flew home to Redondo Beach before the boat trip.

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