Letter: Ironman Wildman

Letter to the Editor

For over 20 years, it was my pleasure to have Don Wildman as my next-door neighbor. During that time, we witnessed his amazing athleticism, whether he was swimming to the pier and back like he was doing laps in an Olympic pool, windsurfing for hours on end, repeatedly pulling a log across the beach, or biking on the highway, wakeboarding around the cove, or paddling his standup paddleboard the mile to and from the point and surfing up until he was over 80 years old. The incredible part is that he would do all or some of these things back to back all in one day. Don inspired many people in his clubs and in life. One day, six months after he moved in next door, I was out windsurfing with my original rig, the one with the teak boom. When I returned to the beach, Don walked over to me and asked if that was the only rig I had and I replied “yes.” He told me to come over to his house in 30 minutes. When I got there, he started loading sails into my truck along with booms, masts, harnesses and boards. I was in shock. He asked me to meet him on the beach tomorrow when the wind came up. The next day, he came over to my house, picked the sail for me to use and helped me put the rig together. We launched our boards and I followed him out to sea. I thought “Okay, this will be no problem. This guy is almost three times my age.” Boy was I wrong. Don did laps around me. After an hour, I was beat and Don was still going strong. There was no way I was going to quit. I was inspired to do better. An hour later, as he passed me, he said the wind is going to die, time to go in—thank goodness. I followed him to the beach. Over the next few years, we repeated this routine many times. 

Don among others helped to create the preserve for Paradise Cove and he hosted amazing fireworks shows on the 4th of July for Malibu for years. I was again inspired by Ironman Wildman as were many others.

Richard Kraft