Local

How a surfer unintentionally caused quite the commotion along the beach Saturday

A surfer talks to authorities on shore after arriving with ocean rescue jet skis that escorted him from far out in the ocean.
A surfer talks to authorities on shore after arriving with ocean rescue jet skis that escorted him from far out in the ocean. David Wetzel

A surfer’s plight put a scare into authorities and beachgoers Saturday afternoon.

The circumstances, however, turned out to be much less dangerous than originally thought.

The surfer was spotted far out in the ocean off 67th avenue around 5:30 p.m. and, as witnesses said, soon he was no longer visible. Vera Harlin, who had just arrived for vacation from Columbia, said she alerted the authorities about another man who had been way out in the ocean earlier before stumbling back to shore visibly “worn out.”

She wasn’t aware at the time that a rescue for another man was taking place.

“You don’t know how scared I was,” she said.

Turns out, the perceived rescue was rather an escort back to the beach.

The surfer eventually came back into focus riding his surf board back to shore while flanked by ocean rescue jet skis and calmly walked onto shore, where Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue officials met him to see what had happened. Beachgoers started a round of applause upon seeing that he appeared to be fine.

The man had purposely traveled that far into the ocean - with estimates ranging anywhere from 600 yards to a mile and a half - while practicing for an upcoming competition, fire officials on scene confirmed. The surfer had not been in any imminent danger, they said.

“Oh my God, Oh my God,” Harlin said upon learning he was being brought back safely. “Thank God.”

  Comments