Rescue drama surfer can’t resist lure of the waves...
A SURFER who was rescued after spending more than 30 hours clinging to his board at sea is riding waves again -- just months after swearing off the sport.
Matthew Bryce, 24, was dramatically winched to safety by a helicopter in May this year following an exhaustive search by the police and coastguard.
The incident led the 24-year-old from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, to swear off of the sport entirely as he suffered from hypothermia and dehydration.
He had been pulled off course by stronger than expected winds and the tide which pulled him 16 miles away from his start point at Westport beach in Kintyre.
But now he is regaining his confidence for the sport he loves with the assistance of those at Surf Snowdonia, North Wales -- a facility which makes man-made waves.
Matthew insists that he was seri- ous that he wanted to quit surfing for good following his 32 hours at sea – but is now getting back on his board. He said: “When I was saying at the time that I wasn’t going to be surfing again it was true. I believed it.”
On Sunday April 30, Matthew was reported missing by his family when he failed to return from a surfing trip off the Argyll coast of Scotland.
Police launched an investigation into the disappearance in addition to a large-scale search, with rescue teams from Campbeltown, Southend, Gigha, Tarbert and Port Ellen all involved.
He was eventually found by a search and rescue helicopter 13 miles off the coast of Northern Ireland at around 7.30pm on May 1.
In just over a week, he made a full recovery at Ulster Hospital in Belfast.
But months later, Matthew is back on his surfboard and training at Surf Snowdonia in Wales.
He said: “It was nice. It’s very different than the sea. You do need to turn and stay within the section that keeps the power.
“You can’t just go where you want. You need to stay where you are. But it was nice to do the little turns and kicks and stuff.”
Staff at Snowdonia sent Matthew an open invitation to see if he could be tempted back into the water.
He added: “I’ve never felt levels of cold like that. It’s bone grinding. It became bone grinding.
“So they [Snowdonia] then thought, you know, ‘come down here, we can get you back in the water, it’s somewhere safe, it’s not in the sea. Come and surf here and we’ll get you back to it.’ “So it was a really nice gesture. “The first wave that I actually caught was nice. I enjoy it too much. I just can’t stop.
“So this was a good stepping stone to actually going back to the sea.
“I think I’ll be going back to the sea soon.”
Matthew Bryce returns to the waves after an epic 30 hour ordeal at sea earlier this year. Below, how the Evening Times reported the nail-biting rescue in May
Matthew recovers thanks to staff at Ulster Hospital in Belfast, and right, the dramatic moment he was saved