It takes a village—or a billionaire yachtsman and a team of surfers.
As the Woolsey fire blazed its devastating path through the Southern California coastline, it made one thing abundantly clear: It wasn’t discriminating about what it took with it. Neighborhoods, businesses, forests, and parks all fell victim to the flames. And despite efforts to protect it, so did the beloved Malibu vineyard billionaire entrepreneur Howard Leight spent more than a decade building into a successful wine business.
Despite his losses, Leight didn’t lament for long; he still had his 143-foot yacht, after all, and at that very moment, there wasn’t anything he could think of that would be more useful. With roads to Malibu cut off from the rest of California, Leight decided to turn his luxury cruiser, the Leight Star, into a giant delivery van that would shuttle much-needed supplies to victims of the fire in Malibu who’d stayed behind to protect their homes.
To accomplish the feat, Leight called a friend who put out a call on social media for volunteers and donations, reports the Los Angeles Times. Then on Tuesday, the fully loaded yacht took off for Malibu’s Paradise Cove, where it was met by a throng of surfers who typically crowd the area in search of waves. Today, however, their boards simply served as step two of a delivery chain.
As volunteers unloaded supplies off Leight’s yacht—too large to get close enough to the sand—surfers in wetsuits took hold of 24-packs of water, snacks, pet food, and even beer, stacked everything high on their boards, and paddled back to shore. In total, Leight’s friend estimated they’d delivered 3,000 bottles of water and 100 gallons of fuel, as well as various other necessities.
And, according to the surfers, their goods weren’t the only ones being delivered; one surfer said he’d helped unload supplies from three different boats that day.
Want to lend a hand—surfboard or not—to those in need all around California? Here’s how to help.
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