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Beach Grit

Rip Current Rory: “I’ll never surf again!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Scottish man survives 32 hours floating in the Irish Sea then quits!

Do you recall the thrilling tale of the Scottish surfer who survived a mid-morning session at his local Scottish break and then got in a rip and sucked all the way to Ireland? 32 hours bobbing and paddling and thinking he was going to die.

But he didn’t die!

He was saved and it is truly a beautiful story. Let’s read from the BBC:

The 23-year-old told BBC Scotland’s Jackie Bird how it had started as “just a normal day”.

He said he had driven to Westport car park in the Kintyre peninsula on Sunday morning, waxed his surfboard then gone into the sea about 11:00 to catch some waves. The day soon turned into a nightmare and he began to panic as tides and winds carried him out to sea.

“The wind and water was just relentless,” he said.

At one point he got back to within about a mile of land, only for the tide to change direction.

“It got to the point where my paddling was ineffective, but I was doing it to keep myself warm.”

If he had been surfing he said he might have stayed in the water for about four hours, but now the sun was setting and he was carried further out to sea. He described how deep fear set in when night fell. “It was incredibly lonely and quiet because there was just nothing – just waves,” he said. “I hadn’t seen any helicopters.

“I was thinking I was going to die – I was almost convinced. “I didn’t think I would see sunrise.”

Mr Bryce said he then saw ships, and since he was well out of the coastguard search area, he decided to try and get into a shipping lane in the hope someone might see him.

He continued to paddle towards the ships through the night.By daylight he was starting to pass out and fall off his board.He continued to drift through the day and as night approached again he said he was resigned for death.

“I knew I wasn’t going to make another night, so I was watching the sunset,” he said. “Then a helicopter flew over me.”

He says it was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen and I can just imagine! His mother was, of course, beyond thrilled. She told the BBC that discussions had already started within her family as to who would go identify the body when the call finally came. When it did come, and it was revealed her boy was alive, she was overcome with the most wonderful emotion.

He also told his mother, when she came to visit his Belfast hospital room, that he would never surf again. Do you think that’s just the hypothermia talking? It is rare in these sorts of surfing survival stories to hear the victim claim that they’re giving up the Sport of Kings. I mean… what would it take for you to stop surfing? I’ve been thinking about this lately and I can’t really imagine a thing. Oh, I don’t write this to point out my superiority over dear Matt Bryce. If anything it is a major problem for me and you too.

We are rotten addicts and we act like it.

The thing I wonder most, though, is what wetsuit he was wearing. It wins BeachGrit Wetsuit of the Year even if it’s Rip Curl! The brand could start a new line called Rip Current for those most likely to get sucked out to sea!