Friday at the shop I was helping a gal with some windsurfing harnesses. Unfortunately we were sold out of the model that she really wanted, and none of the ones that we had in-stock fit her as well as she would have liked. She was especially bummed as she had lost her harness a few days ago, and was now trying to shop for a replacement.

Regrettably shopping for an item when you had a perfectly good one until just recently, and especially when it went missing unwillingly, is absolutely no fun. Just tell me about it. I offered her some words of comfort:

“That’s a total bummer about your harness. If it eases your frustration at all, I lost my kiteboard last Thursday. That’s going to be a bit more painful to replace.”

“Really? You lost your board on Thursday?”

“Yup. Sure did.”

“Did you lose it by the White Salmon Bridge?”

“Heh, yeah.”

“Was it a white board?”

“What? Are you kidding?”

“My friend was trying to rescue someone else’s board, and he had attached it to his board with his leash so he could tow it in. It didn’t work so well, and he ended up losing both boards. I came up to him in the water and he asked me if he saw the boards anywhere, but I couldn’t find them. It was really windy and I was overpowered, so it was impossible for me to do a good search the area.”

“Okay, whoa. Wow. Whoa. Wow.”

She gave me the fellow’s phone number, and I called him and left a message on his voicemail. The other night I heard back from him, and without a doubt it was my board that he was trying to rescue. He described it perfectly, even down to where I wrote my name and phone number on it.

The world is smaller than you could ever imagine.

He had found the board 200 yards upwind of the White Salmon Bridge, which is significant as I had lost it about 100 yards downwind of the bridge. He was rather perplexed by the whole thing as there was no one in sight who appeared to be missing a board, otherwise he would have tried to reunite the board with its owner. Judging by the distance the board had traveled downstream by the time he had found it, I was probably well on my way back to the beach by then.

I thanked him profusely for his recovery efforts, and apologized for my board’s unfortunate act of cannibalization. He said not to worry, and sighed that no good deed goes unpunished. He was optimistic, though. Six weeks ago he lost a kite down in the San Francisco Bay, and just the other day he got a phone call that his kite had been found.

Somewhere between here and the Bonneville Dam are two kiteboards leashed together, with names and phone numbers to match. With any luck they won’t get jammed in a turbine, won’t shut down the dam, and we won’t be sent $100,000 repair bills.