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Ferry sorry 'Idiot' surfer regrets wasting Coastguard’s time with dangerous stunt in shipping lane

The man, branded an “idiot” after being caught trying to ride the wash from the super-fast Stena Embla ferry off the coast at Holywood last week, confirmed to the Sunday World he was the daredevil surfer.

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The surfer speaks to our reporter in Holywood this week

The surfer speaks to our reporter in Holywood this week

The surfer speaks to our reporter in Holywood this week

The mystery surfer who sparked a seaside scramble for riding the wave of a 41,000 tonne ferry has apologised for his high seas stunt.

The man, branded an “idiot” after being caught trying to ride the wash from the super-fast Stena Embla ferry off the coast at Holywood last week, confirmed to the Sunday World he was the daredevil surfer.

The Sunday World tracked down the mystery man at his beach-front home after his run-in with the Coastguard drew widespread media attention.

The man, an experienced surfer, admitted he was the one at the centre of the dramatic story that unfolded last Monday afternoon after he took to the seas to celebrate his 39th birthday.

When approached by the Sunday World, the embarrassed Holywood resident immediately apologised for wasting the Coastguard’s time and warned others not to copy his actions.

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Alarm raised: The Stena Embla

Alarm raised: The Stena Embla

Alarm raised: The Stena Embla

“I can’t believe this,” he said. “I would like to say how I am sorry the Coastguard was called, I didn’t call them but I am sorry I wasted their valuable time. I would like to say though that at no stage did I feel in danger,” he told the Sunday World.

Stena staff sounded their horn after spotting a lone surfer in the shipping lane and contacted the Coastguard who immediately launched a rescue attempt.

Many took to social media to comment on his antics – some congratulating him on his daredevil exploits with other calling on him to be prosecuted for wasting the rescue team’s time.

“Must be some sort of nutter,” one posted.

Another added: “Absolute idiot!” while another post read: “Fun police interfering once again” and another said: “Fair play to him!”

📟ATTENDANCE REQUEST📟 25/1/2021 The team was tasked today to the Holywood area after reports of a lone surfer being...

Posted by Bangor Coastguard Rescue Team on Monday, January 25, 2021

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“Yes there was some response on social media,” the surfer said, shaking his head.

He is no stranger to sea life, admitting he is a coastal skipper, trained to command a yacht both day and night, and has extensive knowledge of the ocean.

“I am in fact a coastal skipper, I know a lot about the sea, about tides and things like that so I am not some amateur. I have been surfing for over two decades, in fact the day it happened it was my 39th birthday.

“I don’t want to say much more about this apart from obviously encouraging others not to try and copy me. Again I would like to apologised to the RNLI, I know how valuable their time is,” he added.

The good-humoured surfer, who speaks with a soft English accent, would not disclose his surname nor would he comment on claims that he was deliberately riding the surf of the huge ferry.

A Coastguard rescue team were dispatched after Stena made an emergency call after spotting in the shipping lane and a rescue attempt was sparked.

According to the Coastguard the surfer managed to paddle his way back to shore on Monday following an emergency alert made by Stena. Bangor Coastguard explained in a Facebook post: “Once on scene the team located the casualty and kept eyes on [him]. The casualty managed to paddle his way back to shore in Holywood.

“Bangor Lifeboat was also tasked to the incident and was stood down en route.”

It continued: “After speaking with the casualty it was confirmed he was intending to surf the wash from the superfast inbound to Belfast.”

Bangor Coastguard revealed that they had spoken to the surfer of the “dangers of being close to such large vessels” as well as the risks of being in the shipping lane.

The team warned of the dangers of being close to such large vessels and in the shipping lane.

They posted: “Bangor RNLI is speechless. Riding the surf of the Stena ferry in the shipping lane – who could have imagined there was anything wrong with that plan?”

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