March 15 (UPI) -- An Australian man who lost his surfboard while catching a big wave discovered the board had been found 16 months later when it was spotted drifting nearly 1,700 miles away.
Danny Griffiths, of Hobart, Tasmania, said he was surfing on the island of Pedra Branca, off the southern coast of Tasmania, in 2017 when he was separated from his 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," Griffiths told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
"We had a boat and a couple of jet skis looking for it for two or three hours. Normally you can find them pretty easily due to their bright colors, but I never saw it again."
Griffiths said he learned of the board's fate nearly four years later, when two tourists from northern Queensland visited Tasmania and mentioned to some locals how their sons, who are fishermen, found a surfboard floating in the water a few years earlier.
"A couple of local surfers clued on that it could have been mine and we joined the pieces of the puzzle together," Griffiths said. "I couldn't believe it."
The fishermen, Troy and Beau Breed, had plucked the board out of the water off the coast of Queensland's Magnetic Island in 2018.
Griffiths said the barnacle-encrusted board apparently had been in the water for 16 months before being fished out nearly 1,700 miles from where he lost it.
Edward Doddridge, a physical oceanographer with the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, said the board likely floated past New Zealand before ending up in Queensland.
"It must have gone east from Tasmania and then north up through the middle of the Pacific Ocean and then come back in toward 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."
Griffiths said he is coordinating with the Breed brothers to have the surfboard shipped back to him. He said the board still appears to be in good working condition.
"Every board I've had built, to try and copy it, has never been the same and never worked the same," he said. "If there's no holes in it, hopefully it's still surfable."