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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Surf’s up in Rickerby as pair take to Carlisle river

How's this for a surfin’ safari? These two surfers decided to take their boards into the River Eden in Carlisle’s Rickerby Park to get in shape for tackling ocean waves.

Carlisle surfers photo
Michael Pnematicatos, front and Steve Wilson in the River Eden

They believe they are the first people to take surfing to the stretch of water.

One of the men Michael Pnematicatos, 24, of Currock, told the News & Star the Eden was a good place for surfers.

He said: “We were looking for a spot where there wasn’t much turbulence and somewhere deep because surfboards do have fins.”

Along with friend Steve Wilson, he went into the river below the park’s suspension bridge and they made their way to the centre of the river.

The two then began paddling against the current with the aim of building their upper body fitness.

“Surfing is mainly fitness, you paddle more than you ride,” Mr Pnematicatos said, adding that in the Atlantic Ocean the height of waves can vary dramatically, requiring a good degree of fitness.

The strong current meant the pair were only ever able to travel about 40 metres up the river before they would stop paddling and let the water take them back to their starting place.

“I did feel fit for doing it,” said Mr Pnematicatos.

They had to be aware of the dangers of training in the Eden.

These include running into rocks and possibly falling off the board and being caught in the river’s current.

“The first rule is not to panic,” said Mr Pnematicatos.

“If you panic, you are in trouble.”

He started surfing in his native South Africa, where he ran a surf shop, six years ago. He moved to Cumbria in 2013 and is currently looking for work.

His exploits in the Eden attracted a lot of attention from passers by.

“A lot of people were looking at us while we were walking across the bridge,” Mr Pnematicatos laughed.

“It was quite funny, I think we are probably the first people to take surfboards into the river.”

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