Harry Bechervaise was sailing big middleton point/bashams last thursday, got caught in the shore break at bashams and pile driven into the beach by an overhead wave
Harrys words "i thought i'd broken my neck, i had shooting pain in my back neck and arms, it took me an hour to drag myself up the beach and packup with the help of onlookers"
Harry has pain in his neck back and arms and pins and needles in his fingers. He is taking advice and is also getting intensive physio and chiro and is out of the water indefinately.
Harrys words "because i was wearing the pfd i was floating like a cork and was unable to dive under the waves and the lip picked me up and smashed me into the sand"
Harry is what anyone would call a credible witness and is the elderstatesman of sa wavesailing. A succesful and respected town planner for the city of adelaide and other australian councils, Harry is now retired and so when fined without warning for failing to wear a PFD, he immediately commenced doing so, also writing to Rod Hook, CEO transport SA and others and working with windsurfing SA to get this PFD matter resolved
Windsurfers and kiters are THE ONLY SURF USERS REQUIRED TO WEAR PFDS. No where else in the world requires windsurfers in the surf to wear PFDs other than SA. Until June 2010 windsurfers werent required to wear PFDs within 400m of the beach. This rule was changed without communication or consultation despite 30 years of sailing in the surf in SA with no drowning or major issue that i am aware of.
Windsurfing or any other activity in the surf involves risk. I would never advocate not wearing a pfd or breaking rules. You shouldnt be in the surf AT ALL if you arent a very strong swimmer experienced in the surf. Harrys experience however shows that, as the windsurfing community has been saying to transport SA, wearing PFDs in the surf can create a hazard and another risk and that this newly aggressively enforced rule requires urgent review and there should immediately be an amnesty.
Surf lifesavers, surfers, body boarders etc etc are exempt from wearing PFDs in the surf.
What is the logic of windsurfers who are strapped to 100L flotation devices equipped with quick release sea anchors (ie rigs) having to wear PFDs in the surf??
I am posting this for the information of windsurfing SA to act on and also transport SA who it is reasonable to assume are monitoring this forum as they chose to use it to communicate with the windsurfing community. Transport SA be advised AGAIN you are putting windsurfers in the surf at risk and your policy in the opinion of the injured was directly responsible for an accident that could have ended in a wheelchair. Taxpayers money in my opinion is being wasted here and the taxpayer also is being exposed to risk of substantial liability. no injuries in 30 years versus one in a month of aggressive enforcement??
We all wish Harry a rapid and complete recovery and look forward to seeing him on the water soon
This guy "Pat" has been jumping on the lake sailors for years now and not once did any wave crew give a ****
but just dished out a mouthful to him when he posted on this site!Now he is on your case and it affects you.You now want to change the law
What you think a speed sailor has less chance of breaking there neck wearing a PFD
Ever tried hitting the water at 40+knts wearing a vest! especially type 1's
Yes you are right the law need to be changed, but across the board.
Sorry to hear about Harry's plight. I agree that we need to work pretty hard on this one... Maybe we could start a focussed working group on changing the law? There seem to be a few people interested and various avenues to pursue...
Get well soon Harry
Wishing you a speedy recovery and fast return to the surf for the friendly waterman
Hope Harry is ok - sailing dribs wouldn't be right without his friendly face
Being the devils advocate here
The question is if everyone wants windsurfing SA to try and fix it is everyone willing to join up and support them to move it forward - maybe this will be the catalyst to fix the general apathy among windsurfers that believes someone else will sort it out organize or provide it - after all we are all windsurfing SA
Most wave sailers can sail fast. It's just that most think it's boring.
Very sorry to hear this. Get well soon Harry.
As far as Windsurfing SA goes, we have made contact with the SAKSA and will work together on this. Some ideas have been circulated to WSA members and a few others for comment. A few comments have been received back but not from many (Harry was an exception).
Shaun from SAKSA and I have decided that a small group with members from both sports is the way to go. PM me if you think you can contribute to this group.
Ironically, Harry's experience gives us a solid reason to push hard on this.
I'm in Korea until 10th Sept, and can't really do much from here except eat KimChi.
Secretary, Windsurfing SA
Harry went to victor hospital this am for CT scan.
They took a look at the results and called an ambulance to take him to flinders medical centre. they made him immediately lie down as a bone fragment was pressing on the spinal chord presenting the risk of paralysis.
He is still 10 hours later lying on his back in victor hospital awaiting ambulance transfer to FMC
doctors have confirmed fracture of c6 vertebrea; a broken neck.
he should make a full recovery, but will be in a full cast; appears he was very lucky
any support would be welcome- especially moral support, send him a text.
He doesnt have private health cover, a lift back to victor when hes discharged would b awesome (not sure exactly when). Russ is on the case.
To further Russell's comment. When/if we meet with Transport SA, SAKSA will be representing 300 or so kiters. Windsurfing SA will be representing about 23 windsurfers.
wow, thats shocking. Couldn't happen to anyone less deserving. Hope harry has a speedy operation and recovery. A similar thing happened to a friend when we were snowboard instructors. He had titanium vertebrae inserted and told no walking for a year and never ride again. He was up and about in weeks and snowboarding again the next season. just shows good recovery can be made.
If harry needs a lift back i can do it, up and down all the time
Harry does not need that for his birthday in a few weeks,,,,BIG 66
Hope Harry gets back on the water sooner than later
Sorry to hear the bad new. All the best with a quick recovery!! Day St will not be the same until we see you back on the water.
Extremely sorry to hear the bad news, I actually gave Harry a call this morning wanting to know what the go was down south. Harry picked up the phone and was sorry he couldn't help as he was in hospital and didn't even make a fuss about his injuries, what an awesome guy, and will be missed on the water.
Hope to catchya on the water soon.
As for the PFD enforcement by the overzealous DPTI tosser PATRICK SPARKS, This incident sole rests on his shoulders. Their position is not to solely handout fines and patrol looking to pinch people.
Stay off the beaches you wanker!!!!
Im pissed off about this bull**, 25years plus of Windsurfing and never had such a TOOL bother me at beach. CLEAR OFF!!!
Hope you are better soon Harry.
Suggest we focus on the law, not the individual. This is important if we want to succeed.
Sure focus on the law its the only way you can change the situation, But if the dudes a Wanker hes a wanker regardless of the law.
This is really sad and a tragic event, Harry is such a great guy, Get well soon Harry
Changing the law is one thing but we can also press for an immediate moratorium of policing on this until they have properly assessed it with both Windurfers and Kitesurfers so that no one else gets hurt.
How ironic that if you are in trouble in the surf one of the first things you need to do is get the damn PFD off so you can swim away from trouble!
Harry has asked that i post on line that he has just contacted transport SA CEO Rod Hook and formally requested that the victorian regs are adopted in SA
ie no pfd for sailors and kiters within 400m of beach wearing minimum 3mm wetsuit
and seek general agreement/comment on the matter.
I have asked Harry to try to go further than vico regs which i believe just relate to in the surf and seek this rule to apply anywhere, ie lakes on the basis you can get held under your rig by pfd, however he is not sure of exact location it applies to but believes it best just to follow vic lead and not complicate things as something is better than nothing
Harry has confirmed
and has had legal opinion that the exemption in victoria that we are applying to have accepted in SA is for a windsurfer or kitesurfer wearing a 3mm+ wetsuit not to have to wear a pfd within 400m of the shore. There is no definition of a shore so lake would be included.
Harry is seeking with Pete from Onboard and Richard of windsurfing SA and the kite association to represent a large number of windsurfers/kiters, who are in agreement about this, hence his request for me to post this info.
I think this would be a great achievement if Harry could get this exemption accepted. He has been in discussions with senior Transport SA execs who are not only sympathetic to his plight but have demonstrated an understanding of the issues involved and an interest in the victorian solution which has been forwarded to them.
If you have any ideas or agreeing (green thumbs ok) or dissenting views, please put them now- Harry wants a united voice
We've been talking to Harry this week and we're keen to support his direction with Transport SA. Windsurfing Victoria and SUP Vic put in a big effort to have their regulations reviewed and ammended and I think the end result is pretty good. The laws in Vic apply to Windsurfers and Kiters on all waterways and allows riders to not wear a PFD within 400m of all shorelines. This would suit most sailors from wavesailors at Middleton to Speedsailors on the lakes and freeride sailors on the metro beaches. A united approach from Harry, Windsurfing SA and ONBOARD, along with the support of the general windsurf crew will go a long way.
Wishing Harry all the best, a full recovery and hope to see him back on the water soon!
From all the members at Saksa, we would like to wish Harry a fast and speedy recovery and hope to see his always smiling face on the water again soon.
We look forward to working with all the windsurfing community to try and get this law altered for the benefit and safety of all concerned.
If anyone would like to contact me, do so anytime via PM at SAKSA or kitecroc.
1000m would be better then 400m from shoreline, don't want the situation to arise were you can still be fined if you have sailed out over 400m without a PDF .
I'm sure they dont have the right to arrest you, and if your not wearing a pfd just say not interested in talking to you. He cant give you a fine or stick it on your car.
Just ignore the dude and walk away.
He's not a police man...?
Rest up and get well soon Harry.
Hope to see you out on the water and to be able to share a wave with you when I'm back down your way later in the year.