A SURFER who was rescued after spending more than 30 hours clinging to his board at sea is riding waves again -- just months after swearing off the sport.

Matthew Bryce, 24, was dramatically winched to safety by a helicopter in May this year following an exhaustive search by the police and coastguard.

The incident led the 24-year-old from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, to swear off of the sport entirely as he suffered from hypothermia and dehydration.

He had been pulled off course by stronger than expected winds and the tide which pulled him 16 miles away from his start point at Westport beach in Kintyre.

But now he is regaining his confidence for the sport he loves with the assistance of those at Surf Snowdonia, North Wales -- a facility which makes man-made waves.

Matthew insists that he was serious that he wanted to quit surfing for good following his 32 hours at sea but is now getting back on his board.

He said: "When I was saying at the time that I wasn't going to be surfing again it was true. I believed it. I enjoy it too much to stop. I can't just stop."

On Sunday April 30, Matthew was reported missing by his family when he failed to return from a surfing trip off the Argyll coast of Scotland.

Police launched an investigation into the disappearance in addition to a large-scale search, with rescue teams from Campbeltown, Southend, Gigha, Tarbert and Port Ellen all involved.

He was eventually found by a search and rescue helicopter 13 miles off the coast of Northern Ireland at around 7.30pm on May 1.

In just over a week, he made a full recovery at Ulster Hospital in Belfast.

But months later, Matthew is back on his surfboard and training at Surf Snowdonia in Wales - a facility that generates man-made waves

He said: "It was nice. It's very different than the sea. You do need to turn and stay within the section that keeps the power.

"You can't just go where you want. You need to stay where you are. But it was nice to do the little turns and kicks and stuff."

Staff at Snowdonia sent Matthew an open invitation to see if he could be tempted back into the water.

He added: "I've never felt levels of cold like that. It's bone grinding. It became bone grinding.

"So they [Snowdonia] then thought, you know, 'come down here, we can get you back in the water, it's somewhere safe, it's not in the sea. Come and surf here and we'll get you back to it.' So it was a really nice gesture.

"The first wave that I actually caught was nice. I enjoy it too much. I just can't stop. So this was a good stepping stone to actually going back to the sea.

"I think I'll be going back to the sea soon."

On Facebook, Snowdonia wrote: "Matthew initially said his experience had been too traumatic to contemplate surfing again. And that was totally understandable.

"But we couldn't help wondering if our inland waves could help Matthew get back to the sport he loved, and we got in touch with an open invitation to come visit if, and when, he ever felt up to it.

"We are delighted to say that just 6 months after his Irish Sea rescue, Matthew was up for it.

"He came down to stay at Surf Snowdonia with a group of his closest surfer friends who cheered him back onto the waves."