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Lost surfboard found after 4 years and 2,700km journey

Danny Griffiths' surfboard was found in Queensland waters about 16 months after it was lost south of Tasmania.

Surfer Danny Griffiths lost his favourite surfboard in 2017 off the south coast of Tasmania and had given up hope of ever finding it again.

A chance encounter last week has solved the mystery of where it ended up — about 2,700 kilometres away.

Mr Griffiths was surfing at Pedra Branca, an isolated rocky island 27 kilometres south of Tasmania, which is home to one of Australia's most renowned big wave surf breaks, when he lost his beloved board.

"There were about five of us surfing, and on my very last wave, I had to jump off at the end as it was one of the bigger waves of the day. It had closed down and started breaking towards me," he said.

"We had a boat and a couple of jet skis looking for it for two or three hours.

Man surfing a large wave
The last wave Danny Griffiths surfed near Pedra Branca before he lost his favourite surfboard in 2017.(Supplied: Andrew Chisholm)

"Normally you can find them pretty easily due to their bright colours, but I never saw it again.

Big wave surfers do not often wear leg ropes due to the risk that comes with the weight of the board.

Island discovery

Mr Griffiths had always wondered where the board may have ended up, and almost four years on, the mystery has been solved.

The board drifted for an estimated 16 months before being picked up by a pair of fishermen at Magnetic Island, near Townsville in northern Queensland. It has been displayed in their home ever since.

The fishermen attempted to find the owner by social media, but had no luck.

A man holds a green surfboard covered in barnacles
The surfboard is believed to have travelled past New Zealand

The dots were only connected when their parents recently visited Tasmania, and, by chance, mentioned to some locals that their sons had found a surfboard.

"I couldn't believe it."

Man holding a surfboard, with two other surfboards near his feet
Danny Griffiths says no other board has been the same or worked the same as the one he lost near Pedra Branca in 2017.(Supplied)

'Really surprising'

Physical oceanographer Edward Doddridge from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies said the board turning up in Queensland is "really surprising".

"The big current that comes along the east Australian coast goes north to south, which means this board must have come some other way," Dr Doddridge said.

Dr Doddridge said it was impossible to know exactly how the board travelled, but said it seemed the only way was for it to go past New Zealand.

 

"It must have gone east from Tasmania and then north up through the middle of the Pacific Ocean and then come back in towards the Australian coast," he said.

"That seems like the only possible way for it to get from Tasmania to Queensland. It's very unlikely to have gone straight up the east coast of Australia."

Mr Griffiths returned to Pedra Branca a week ago, the first time since losing his board, and just days before he heard the news it had been found.

He is hopeful he will be able to get the surfboard sent back down to Tasmania.

"Every board I've had built, to try and copy it, has never been the same and never worked the same," he said.

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