The Rotary Club of the Eastern Seaboard and Amara Watersports brought emergency supplies to flood victims in Thailand’s hard-hit northeast with the help of a wide range of sponsors and some skilled windsurfers.
Using “stand-up paddleboards,” or SUPs, windsurfing enthusiasts ditched their sails and grabbed paddles to deliver 100 “survival packs” to submerged areas of Nakhon Sawan, Chainat, Singburi and Ang Thong provinces Sept. 27-28. For some areas, these tiny boards were the only way to reach victims.
Amara Wichithong (2nd right), managing director of Amara Watersports.com Pattaya, is flanked by her husband Craig Thompson and President Carl R Dyson and Ferenc, CM and Dir. of PR of the RCES 2 days before leaving for Nakhon Sawan, Chainat, Singburi and Ang Thong.
The trip was also sponsored by Swiss International Airlines, BAFCO, Bangkok Flight Services Asia, Isuzu, Singha Water and Channel 3. The airline donated 100 blankets, Singha gave 2,400 bottles of drinking water and Isuzu supplied five pickup trucks to bring the rescuers to the area. Starboard Co. and Jomtien Beach’s Amara Watersports donated 20 sets of boards and paddles for the effort.
Delivering the relief supplies was anything but routine. Each SUP carried three to five bags, depending on weight. Each was wrapped in plastic to keep them dry and strapped to the board. Each surfer towed a second board with even more supplies behind them.
In some cases, rubber dinghies were towed behind a SUP. In one case, a monk rescued from flood waters was placed in the boat and towed to safety.
The base for the operation was a large motorized flat-bottom boat. Surfers, decked out in mandatory life jackets, spread out to hard-to-reach houses, communicating by whistle.
Organizers of the unique operation thanked their gracious sponsors, but acknowledged that the cost of the effort exceeded their budget. Anyone interested in contributing to the Rotary’s relief fund can contribute to contact Jarutat Snidwongse at [email protected].