Belfast Telegraph

Water way to celebrate your engagement: Couple take to the waves in Coleraine for amazing wakeboarding photos

By Amanda Ferguson

We did it for the craic.

This was the explanation provided by the north coast-based couple who took part in a dramatic wakeboarding photo shoot on the River Bann in Coleraine to celebrate their engagement.

Thrill-seeking Peter Stewart (30) from Coleraine and Fiona Bannon (27) from Portstewart are making waves on the internet after their wakeboarding adventure was caught on camera by photographer David Cavan.

Last night Peter told the Belfast Telegraph the couple wanted to mark their engagement in a "fun way" ahead of tying the knot on November 22 at Galgorm Manor.

"We did it for the craic," he explained.

"We wanted to have fun engagement photos to keep."

Fiona, a nurse, and Peter, a web and graphic designer, met in a bar in Portstewart nearly 10 years ago and fell in love.

Peter is a six-time Irish wakeboarding champion, who was placed third in the 2003 World Championships and the 2010 European Championships, so taking to the water for their engagement celebration seemed like the best way to capture the images they wanted.

"I proposed in France in February 2013 when we were snowboarding," Peter explained.

"Then this summer we did an engagement photo shoot for fun.

"It was the first week of August, so the weather was not great.

"We sat about in the boat for ages, then the clouds cleared and the water was really flat.

"Flat is the perfect condition for waterboarding. It turned out really nice."

Peter was well prepared for the photo session as he had a wetsuit on underneath his shirt and trousers, but his fiancée wasn't so lucky as she wore just a wedding gown.

"I had a wetsuit on but Fiona didn't," he said. "She said it was freezing!" The daredevil couple's family think their new found fame after the photo shoot pictures were shared online is hilarious.

"They think it's very funny we are getting all this attention from a fun idea we had," Peter said.

But for their upcoming winter wedding day Peter and Fiona are planning a more conventional set of pictures for their album.

"Maybe we will go for something a bit more laidback, normal and relaxed," Peter said.

"We are really happy with David Cavan's pictures marking our engagement. They are great to have and look back on."

Love in the air on north coast

Earlier this year north coast-based big wave surfer Al Mennie was dubbed the most romantic man in Northern Ireland. In August he took stylist and illustrator Sara O'Neill off to a cave in Ballintoy at dawn to pop the big question. Al filled a cave with candles and flowers before carrying Sara across a clear water lagoon to ask her to be his wife. They hope to marry in April, outside the big wave season.

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