Still hitting the surf around Thirroul is Japanese traveller Toru, despite being dramatically rescued after drifting 6km out from Bulli on his yellow and green surfboard two weeks ago.
The 37-year-old said it wasn’t until he read an Illawarra Mercury article about himself that he realised just how far he’d gone before cargo ship MSC Damla picked him up around 9am on January 13.
For 16 hours he floated further and further from the beach, before the “very nice” crew picked him up. They were all excited to talk to him, he says.
At the time, Port Kembla Water Police Sergeant Sean Netting said the surfer appeared unfazed by the incident.
"Most people that get themselves in that situation die. He's just so lucky that someone on ship spotted him,” he said.
"He was in remarkably good spirits and basically had no [health] issues at all.”
Toru told the Mercury he will stick to day surfing from now on after his “interesting paddle”.
He said many surfers wear a light around their necks at night so they can see where they’re going, he thought he’d rely on the full moon.
“Night surf [at Sandon Point] is dangerous because you cannot see the bottom,” he says in a thick accent.
“I was [just happy] in the moonlight and full moon. I think mind and the body affected by full moon; I just got closer and closer to the moon.”
It was just another adventure for the thrill seeker who says he’s been travelling the globe in search of waves, snow, interesting food and interesting people for nearly 20 years.
Originally from Tokyo, Toru says he began travelling when studying international politics at university, visiting Thailand before hitchhiking to Malaysia. Since then he’s ticked many countries off his bucket list.
He’s been paragliding, loves doing jumps on a snowboard (he loves “gravity” he says) and recently jumped off the notorious Warriewood Blowhole on Sydney’s northern Beaches – a cliff jump often resulting in injuries.
He said it was scary because he could not predict his landing, like on a snowboard, and did not know how shallow the water was.
This is Toru’s third visit to Australia and says he funds the travel by busking in cafes.
“Easy, ask owner ... then if sound good they say ‘okay’. I never be declined,” he says while noting his guitar strings are getting rusty from the salty winds.