WHEN Sam Light dropped his GoPro camera into the sea five years ago he assumed it was lost forever.
That was until last month – when mum-of-two Dionne Hibbs found it washed up on the Hayling Island coastline as she walked her three-year-old cocker spaniel, Belle.
Amazingly the machine still worked and the 46-year-old managed to track Sam down by extracting a still image of his face from the camera and sharing it on Facebook.
Against the odds the 27-year-old professional kite surfer from Southsea has finally been reunited with his kit, after the pair met up.
‘I didn’t think I would ever find it again and I definitely didn’t expect it to work,’ Sam said.
‘I know how the tide here works and the route it would have taken to get back to the beach is quite astonishing.
‘It would have gone out to sea first and come back round to the entrance of Langstone Harbour.’
Sam dropped the GoPro Hero 4 on only the second time he used it as he welcomed a friend from the US to join him on a kite-surfing session off the West Winner Sandbank.
When Dionne discovered it among the shingle close to the Inn on the Beach she assumed it ‘had been lost for a few days'.
But after Sam contacted her on Facebook to claim the camera and share its true story, she was baffled.
‘I still can not believe it – it’s amazing,’ said the Hampshire school worker, from Horndean.
‘When you start the camera up you can see the point where it falls into the water and clearly it has been blowing around the seabed ever since.
‘My friend suggested leaving it at the pub nearby. I’m so glad I followed my gut instinct and took it home.’
Now Sam, who is sponsored by Slingshot and O’Neill among brands, has agreed to give Dionne's 12-year-old son, Joshua, a kitesurfing training session to say thanks.
‘[Joshua] has been desperate to try it and Sam wants to give something back,’ Dionne said. ‘I suppose you could say we’ve struck up a bit of a friendship.’
Sam used footage found on the camera to make a video for his YouTube channel, which he uploaded on February 13.