Remember back in May when a surfer spent more than 30 hours bobbing around off the coast of Scotland? His name was (still is, in fact) Matthew Bryce, and after his ordeal, he wasn’t exactly stoked on the idea of getting back in the water. But now, thanks to the miracle of modern science, he’s able to surf out of the ocean. How, you ask? Wave pools, of course!
The 24-year-old left went for a surf at West Port Beach in Kintyre, where the water is very cold. Like, ball-achingly cold–average temperatures in the area are around 7ºC, or around 44ºF. Of course, he was wearing a wetsuit, or he’d be dead. Still, though, after 30-or-so hours, he was getting a little chilly. After his family realized he probably wasn’t coming back anytime soon, they called authorities, who then sent out a search and rescue team. They eventually found him 13 miles from the coast of Northern Ireland, which was not where he planned on being. He was taken to a hospital in Belfast where he was treated for hypothermia, kept for eight days, and released. “It was incredibly lonely and quiet because there was just nothing–just waves,” he remembered. 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 the sunrise.” Then, luck! Rescuers found him and plucked him from the sea.
Soon afterward, he promised his parents, who were understandably worried, that he’d never surf again. Surfing, however, is generally done in the ocean, so when Surf Snowdonia got a hold of him and offered him the chance to get back on his surfboard without breaking his promise to his parents or risking becoming a frozen cork bobbing in the ocean again, he took them up on it.
“I was pretty much resigned to the fact that I was not going to be surfing again,” he told the Daily Post after his wave pool experience. “But Surf Snowdonia got in touch and said ‘come down here, we can get you back in the water.’ It’s somewhere safe, it’s not in the sea. It was a really nice gesture.”
Now it sounds like he’s planning on getting back in the ocean, despite that promise to his parents. “This has been a great stepping stone to actually going back out in the sea,” he said. “I can’t just stop, I enjoy surfing too much.”