Article from CNN
Jack Guy, CNN • Updated 18th March 2021
A big wave surfer is set to be reunited with the board he lost in a wipeout off the southern coast of Tasmania, Australia, four years ago after it was found 1,700 miles away in North Queensland.
Danny Griffiths bailed on a wave at Pedra Branca in March 2017 and his board was nowhere to be seen when he resurfaced, he told CNN on Thursday.
Despite searching for the specially-made, bright green board with the help of friends, Griffiths was forced to give up on it and “never thought we would see it again,” he said.
However, in the last week or so, word circulated through the local surfing community that a board from Tasmania had been found in North Queensland — some 1,700 miles away as the crow flies — and Griffiths was shown a photo.
“As soon as I seen it I knew it was my board,” he said. “Even with the barnacles on it, I could tell it was mine.”
The board had been found two years ago by two brothers fishing off Magnetic Island, North Queensland, who took it home, cleaned it up and put it on display in their house, he said.
Then the brothers’ parents went on a trip to Tasmania and started telling locals how their boys had found a locally-made board.
After word spread, Griffiths got in touch with the pair, who have agreed to send it back to its original owner.
Griffiths has since spoken to a marine scientist who told him that the direction of ocean currents means the board must have traveled around New Zealand on its way to Queensland.
He calculates that the board spent 16 months at sea, surviving thanks to the heavy-duty construction of big wave boards, which are far stronger than standard models.
“These boards are built for withstanding a lot of water pressure,” said Griffiths, who added that you could probably run over one with a car without breaking it.
This means it would have withstood any collisions with rocks or pecking from sea birds, which would have made holes in a normal board and eventually made it sink, he added.
Griffiths said he had the board specifically made to surf at Pedra Branca, a tiny island located about 26 kilometers (16 miles) off the Tasmanian coast that he only gets to surf once every two to four years when conditions are right.
In a strange coincidence, Griffiths and his friends had been out surfing at the spot a couple of weeks ago, and conversation turned to the long-lost board.
Griffiths said he had several replacement boards made but none had felt as good as the original. “Nothing was working out that well,” he said.
However, he expects to be reunited with the lost board in the next week or so, and plans to test if it’s still in a usable condition.