Proposals are nerve wracking. Purchasing an engagement ring and getting down on bended knee is a pretty vulnerable place to be. Add to navigating the waters of potential rejection actual water with actual waves, needing to keep your balance and the like, and you’re really going the extra mile.
Peter Abell, a 32-year-old surf instructor from Cornwall, did just that deciding to propose to his girlfriend, Angie de Burgh, in a pretty unconventional way – while the two were surfing the Severn bore in the Bristol Channel.
In a video posted online, you can see mid wave Abell drop to one knee, pull a ring box out of the chest of his wetsuit, open it, and pop the question. He reportedly used a fake ring and replaced it with the real one later. Smart.
“Seconds after seeing that Angie had caught the wave I took the opportunity to get on one knee and luckily kept balance,” Abell told the Daily Mail. “She was absolutely clueless. She couldn’t believe it and thought I was joking – but she screamed, “Yes.”
At first de Burgh was focused on standing up, she said. Then she saw the ring and her first thought was, “Is he joking?” Abell asked if she, “was going to say yes then,” and she shouted in affirmation.
The Severn River holds a certain sentimental value for the pair. They first met at Swansea University ten years ago, but never dated. Then, three years ago, they ran into each other surfing this very wave.
“We were just cruising down the river,” said Abell. “I looked to the left and it was Ange. There aren’t that many girls that actually surf the river so it was quite unique.”
The Severn River holds even more meaning for Abell. His parents got engaged on its banks during a full moon, which is what causes the bore. It became even more meaningful when his father passed away three weeks before he could pop the question.
“A week before his death I discussed my plans with him. He thought it was such a wonderful idea. There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to carry on with the proposal.”
After riding for nearly a mile they climbed out and went back to Abell’s van for some champagne.
‘It was very special,” said de Burgh. “Surfing is massive in our lives – it brought us together so it’s the only way he could have done it.”