CORDELL ( Corey Kraut ) http://www.wakeworld.com/News/2000/CoryKraut.asp http://www.wakeworld.com/news/2001/Kraut.asp
It's hard to truly understand the impact of silence. The blank water is still fresh in my mind.
It's great to hang out with good friends and other wakeboarders, watching guys from the boat who are going all out and make it look so easy, fun and effortless. Guys pulling off stuff most of us just dream of. Even when you're not on the water, if you're just hanging out on the dock you're having fun listening to stories. Wakeboarders love to have a good time. That's what it's all about. We love the water. Some of us have withdrawals if we don't at least get a short set in. Like most loves, it makes us feel comfortable. We relax when we feel safe and warm. Just thinking about it right now, I bet most of you can feel the warm summer water holding you as you wait with handle in hand. How can something we love so much hurt us?
Most people will never understand the true meaning of quick. The blink of an eye, we've heard it. It's cliche. Flipping a light switch. Not fast enough. Here, then gone. Instant. Forever.
That's it. The lake we love with all our lives will swallow us whole. Instant. Forever. There is no struggling for breath. There is no last hand or foot up on the top of the water. There is nothing. When you hit the water and get the breath knocked out of you, you sink. Fast. One minute you're pulling off a sick spin. The next you are gone. In an instant, forever. Two boats with 11 guys can't get to you. Diving into the water to look for you doesn't help. The water is dark and deep.
I dove off the front of the boat and went as deep as I could, looking up through the murky water, searching for sunlit silhouettes. I saw nothing. Time and time again, I saw nothing. Neither did any of the others who dove in. The view from underneath the surface, while almost out of breath will never leave my mind.
There was not one thing any or all of us could have done. We were helpless. It's not like in the movies. There are no bodies to find. There are no heroes giving CPR to save the day. You can't do CPR if you can't find the person. You just disappear as if the lake grabbed you and put you in its pocket. Here, then gone. Happiness, then chaos, then...silence. Just a board floating alone.
Then reality kicks in. Cops, fire trucks, ambulances, park and wildlife boats all surround you and you are forced to relive the experience again and again and again. Retelling the sequence of events and unfortunately having to show it over and over on videotape so that the search teams can get a location is brutal. I can't get it out of my head. I go to sleep thinking about it. Not one day has gone by that I haven't thought about it. I never will forget it.
You always hear the stories about someone who was on the last run of the day when they went down. It's always the last run and for some the last run ever.
To this day, Corey was the last person to pull me boarding. When I think of what happened, I am deeply saddened. When I think of him, I smile. I remember every time I tried to pull off a trick, even if I didn't make it, I got the horn honk from the boat and some encouraging words from Corey. I remember watching him bob his head to Dr. Dre and Eminem as we went across the lake. At the RV he made sure people were getting sandwiches and drinks and felt welcome (he did think that the bottled water in a can was kinda funny though). I remember how much fun he was having on the tour. Yeah, the carbon monoxide in the RV thing wasn't too cool, but everything else was great. He loved it.
Like Greg said, sometimes we forget. Maybe we are in a hurry or we just feel really safe and comfortable. Just think of how many people have jumped in with their sunglasses on. In the latest video release Corey was in, he was wearing a vest. We have to remember. Our lives depend on it.
Every time I ride, I will be riding with thoughts of Corey. His love of life, his love of the sport, and his overall positive outlook will make me ride the way he did; for fun, pure fun.
I will never forget him.
-= peace =-