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Teak Surfing Can Be Deadly

Jun 19, 2015

A beautiful, vibrant 15-year-old Austin girl passed away earlier this month while attending a wakeboarding camp. Sarah’s untimely passing is tragic and heartbreaking, but my hope is, that by sharing her story, we can save the lives of others.

Sarah was last seen in the water holding onto the platform on the back of a moving boat. This is known as “teak surfing” or “drag surfing”. I know that, because when I was her age, I did it.

What many people don’t know is that it’s a very dangerous activity that has lead to numerous deaths across the country – but probably not for the reason you think.

The popular activity known as “teak surfing” in which occupants hold onto the swim deck as the boat pulls them through the water, has claimed the lives of dozens of people. Teak surfers hang off the swim platform and when the wake gets large enough, they release their hold and body surf on the wake. Surfers forego life vests because they interfere with the ability to surf the wake.

Many people think teak surfing is safe, because the propellers are located under the middle of the boat, a significant distance from the rear swim deck; what they do not realize, is this exposes them to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Within a matter of minutes, victims can be overcome by carbon monoxide and slip under the water even if they are being monitored by others on the boat.

This summer, be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and share with everyone you care about – you just may save their life.

Learn more about the dangers of “teak surfing” in this CBS News video from June 30th, 2004.

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