Six San Diegan Surfers in Group That Saved Stranded Surfers in Indonesia

A group of San Diego surfers on a trip in Indonesia woke up on the last day of their trip to find their boat heading away from their destination. 

Their captain, Martin Daly, had woken up to news that morning of a distress call for the Quest 1, an infamous surfing boat in the region. 

"They were ten miles out in open ocean in some heavy seas,” said Paul Seckendorf, one of six San Diego surfers on their boat. “So, it was probably blowing 30 to 40 knots, and we had swells anywhere from 8 to 10 feet. And it was frightening, actually."

Seckendorf, John Gentillon and their fellow boaters had spotted the vessel, well recognized in the surfing world, the day before. The boat had appeared in several surfing videos over the years and hosted some of the world’s best surfers.

The Quest 1 had taken on water overnight and sank before sunrise. Passengers and crew members on board made it off, but were stranded with only their life rafts and a skiff in the open ocean.

Seckendorf said it took approximately five hours from when their boat received the distress call to reach the life rafts floating in open water.

"I'm just thinking good Lord, I was glad I wasn't them,” Seckendorf said. “I mean, imagine being out in the water for five hours."

The sunken boat had several Californians on board, Seckendorf said.

"When these folks came on board, their eyes were as big as saucers and they were so grateful that someone had come and saved them," Seckendorf said.

He said the rescued people were speechless for a while once on board a boat again. Seckendorf and his friends helped out by giving the passengers and crew clean clothes, water and food.

"We had the capacity to give them some clean clothes. They had nothing,” he said. “All they had was what was on their backs."

Seckendorf said their captain, Daly, was a hero for keeping his cool in the high-stress situation. Quest 1 passengers and crew members likely had minutes to decide what to do once they discovered their boat would sink, according to the San Diegan.

“It's good that the water was warm because that's all they had was a rash guard, a pair of trunks, some people had booties on,” Seckendorf said.

Everyone rescued was fine and accounted for, Seckendorf said, and no injuries were reported. 

Seckendorf and his friends missed their last day of surfing, but they now have a story that will last much longer than any wave.

"What else are you going to do?” Seckendorf said. “I was more than happy to help out. I think that was the sentiment of everybody on board."

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