Matthew Bryce paddled out for a session off the coast of Scotland one day and almost never returned. Understandably, he said that he never would surf again.– If you jump on a horse for the first time and it tries to kill you, you would likely never do that again. Surf Snowdonia wanted to help get Matt back up on the horse and return to surfing.
Last May, Matt paddled out at Westport Beach in Kintyre, Scotland and was soon swept up in a strong current with howling winds. He spent the next 32 hours drifting around in the North Atlantic clinging to his board. In his mind, he was certainly not going to make it through even the first night. Miraculously, Matthew was rescued 13 miles off the coast of Northern Ireland by a Coast Guard helicopter. Right as the sun was setting on what would’ve been his final day with us.
Surf Snowdonia couldn’t accept that, they wanted Matt to get back in the water and live the rest of his life enjoying the addiction of surfing. So, they reached out and offered for him, along with some friends to come down and get back on a board.
“I had very much resented the fact that I wasn’t going to be surfing again,” says Matt. He agreed it was time to confront the beast again.
Just six months after a surf session which took him on a ride that nearly snatched his life, Matt is surfing again. Surf Snowdonia is overjoyed that Matt has gotten back up on the horse. With the support of his closest friends, Matt showed up to Surf Snowdonia and paddled into some waves. Check out the video of the session, you can see the overwhelming joy on Matt’s face as he pops up.
This is one of the most unique and inspiring stories of survival. Surfing caused great harm to Matt, but as one Vietnam Veteran says: “Surfing heals all wounds”– Even those caused by surfing itself.
Snowdonia is a super controlled and safe environment, almost like a bike with training wheels. Matt may never have returned to surfing; Let alone the ocean if not for this opportunity to use the wave pool as a stepping stone to recovery. The fact the Surf Snowdonia reached out and offered to help when they had no obligation to proves that surfer comradery doesn’t stop at the beach anymore, and surfing- especially as a form of therapy doesn’t stop at the shoreline.
Watch Matt stroke into his first wave since the incident. Notice the smile on his face when he does so.