On November 9, 1989, exactly 30 years ago, the Berlin Wall fell: today is the day to tell you the story of one of the many daring escapes from East Germany to the “capitalist” world before the fall of the Wall. We’re sure you’ve heard quite a few. People who dug underground tunnels to go under the Wall, who stole airplanes, who used complicated pulley systems.
WINDSURFING TO FREEDOM
The story we are interested in goes back to 1986 and is truly incredible. The protagonists are Karsten Klünder and Dirk Deckert: two friends who decided to flee the German Democratic Republic by…windsurfing, gambling their lives in the cold of the Baltic Sea. The two departed from German beaches, bound for Denmark, at dawn on Nov. 24 (to avoid the Communist coast guard), in 30 knots of air, aboard two boards that they had self-made based on directions from an underground sailing magazine from West Germany, with neoprene wetsuits (very difficult material to find in DDR) homemade.
Klünder succeeded on the first stroke, sailing 70 kilometers pushed by the wind between Hiddensee the island of Møn, landing on the Danish coast. Deckert once out had to go back in because water was getting into his pond. He tried again the following night, being retrieved six hours later half-frozen by a fishing boat-unfortunately for him-Danish. Interviewed recently, he said, “If I had known that the Wall would fall after only three years, I might never have done it.”
“THE BIG STORY” REPORT ON THE STORY OF THE TWO SURFERS