When waves-surfer Doug Falter lost his surfboard in a wipeout in Hawaii, he never imagined it would be found thousands of kilometers away in the Philippines.
More than two years after watching his board disappear in the huge swell of the popular Waimea Bay, Falter found it via social media.
The water threw the board to the remote island of Sarangani, more than 8,000 kilometers away in the southern Philippines.
The new owner is a local primary school teacher and aspiring surfer Giovanne Branzuela.
"When I saw the picture of it, I couldn't believe it, I thought it was a joke," Falter, 35, told AFP via Zoom.
Branzuela bought the surfboard from his neighbor a couple of months ago for P2,000 ($40).
Fishermen had found it floating in the sea in August 2018, six months after Falter lost sight of it.
The name of the board's shaper Lyle Carlson was still visible on the surfboard. Curious, Branzuela looked him up on Facebook and sent him a photo of the board.
Carlson shared the picture on Instagram, tagging Falter.
"It turned out it's a surfboard from Hawaii. I couldn't believe it myself," Branzuela, 38, told AFP via telephone. Falter plans to visit the small island to retrieve his board after coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted.
"That board meant so much to me because of my accomplishments on it," said Falter, who took up surfing about 15 years ago in Florida before moving to Hawaii.
Falter said he wants to give Branzuela a beginners surfboard in exchange for his, in addition to surfing courses during his upcoming visit to the Philippines.
In the meantime, Falter is raising money to send supplies to Branzuela's school.
"It's an excuse for me to go to the Philippines and visit and basically complete the story. I think it would be a great ending to... teach him how to surf," said Falter.