The Unexpected Backstory Of The Japanese Surfer Who Spent The Night At Sea

The truth behind last week's big news story which involved a Japanese surfer spending a night at sea

Last week we brought the story of a Japanese surfer who was rescued after spending a night drifting 6km off the coast of Australia on his surfboard. There wasn’t much information on the story available at the time, and the brief report raised more questions than it answered.

In particular how did the surfer end up getting sucked so far out to sea on what was reportedly a pretty small onshore day at a playful beach break?

Conspiracy theories whirled around the internet, was it a drug drop? a migration attempt? Well no actually, as it turns out it was something altogether less sinister according to

Journalist Stu Nettle reported via the site yesterday that after getting out from a surf at a point break, just up the coast from where the incident occurred, he noticed a Japanese man camped out under a little shelter. Curiosity got the better of Stu and he decided to head over and ask the chap if he was the one involved in the global news making incident last week, and what do you know, it was.

“The surf was very small, and I paddled out late.” the man, named Toru, replied when asked how it was that he ended up out there. “It was going to be a full moon that night. I stayed out to watch the moon rise and then the wind died off and it was still. Very, very nice…”.

“I much like being in nature,” he continued “and it was very nice out there. I wanted to….feel it.”

“I could see the lights [from the land] and I watched the full moon and I relaxed. I wanted to see the sunrise while the moon was still in the sky.”

As Toru tells it then, the journey was a much more deliberate one than the press (and us) reported subsequently, so why did he need to be rescued by the boat?

“I paddled near it because I liked the shape of it.”

“But then someone appeared on the rail and saw me.” Toru said, reportedly adamant he didn’t need to be rescued. “I was tired, a bit cold, but I was OK. It was…very embarrassing.”

So there you have it, according to him the fella was just out for a nocturnal jaunt, enjoying the full moon, and not in need of assistance at all, and whilst it might be the sort of story made up to save face after an embarrassing incident, I think I might just believe him.

Cover image courtesy of