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Off Montauk, a Karmic Surfboard Caper Ends Happily

Wed, 10/14/2020 - 13:23
Robert, left, who lost his wife Karen's board, picked it up from Chuck Morici, right, outside Brent's and thanked him with a custom bottle of whiskey.
Charlie Weimer

The department of stolen surfboards caught a break this summer when a good Samaritan did something that you don't normally see in a story about a missing board. He returned it.

Capt. Chuck Morici said he was squid fishing on July 3, seven miles off East Hampton at the Honey Comb Hideout. "That's a secret fishing spot. Are you gonna put that in there? Put it in."

"I spotted what I thought was a boat cushion." He said he thought someone might have thrown it overboard, but looking through binoculars he discovered that it was a surfboard bag floating stiff in the water. He figured there had to be a board in it.

Captain Morici then threw an orange Polyform buoy, a big floating ball, in the water to mark the spot since it would take 15 minutes to get the fishing nets back onboard. Returning to the ball after he'd traveled a quarter of a mile, he located the surfboard bag, indeed with a board inside, and got it on his boat, the Act I.

When he opened it up, he found "a brand-new surfboard, custom built, didn't even have wax on it." The third-generation Montauker took it home, and Megan Morici, his daughter, and Jason Carey, her boyfriend, both 29 years old, spent a few hours online. They made phone calls to "dig up the serial number" and found that "the lady had a name on her board: Karen."

The surfboard company was able to call the owner, and the family contacted Captain Morici. Within a few days, Karen's husband, Robert, who he said was the one who had lost the board, met Captain Morici at Brent's General Store in Amagansett. The family did not want their full names printed for privacy reasons.

"They lost the surfboard off their yacht, coming back from a surfing safari on Block Island. The board slid off their yacht, so it traveled about 34 nautical miles before it was found," Captain Morici said. It had been a week since it was lost.

The surfboard had never been ridden and was custom made in California. Captain Morici estimated it cost $1,000 to $1,200.

"They were very grateful. I was rewarded with a custom bottle of whiskey and a thank-you. You know, if you find something it doesn't really mean it's yours if you can really give it back to the owner. It's called karma."

"And I'm going to say karma," he added, "because the next day we went out and we had one of the biggest days of squid fishing all season. We had 15,000 pounds of squid the next day we gave the board back."

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