Friends and work colleagues of the windsurfer who was the subject of a seven hour air and sea search of the Kerry coast last night have expressed their enormous relief that he is safe and well.

Lorenzo Cubeddu, aged in his 50's, is an experienced windsurfer who lives and works in Ballybunion, Co. Kerry.

The alarm was raised at around 5pm yesterday evening after the man had failed to return to shore, having not been seen since around 4pm off Ballybunion. 

The Fenit RNLI Lifeboat, the LÉ Niamh and the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter, Rescue 115, were involved in the search.

The surfer came ashore at Kilkee in Co. Clare late last night after spending up to two and half hours at sea.

Gardaí said he was taken to hospital by ambulance suffering the affects of the cold.

Work colleagues at Cahills Supervalu store in Ballybunion  today posted a message on Facebook expressing their enormous relief that Lorenzo was found safe and well and thanking the rescue services for their work.

Owner Cormac Cahill told RTE news that Mr. Cuberddu was an exceptionally nice man, was well known in Ballybunion and very popular with their customers.

Charlie Glynn of Kilrush RNLI  also expressed their delight that the windsurfer missing for so long was found alive.

He said the casualty had managed to travel 25 nautical miles past Loop Head in very difficult weather conditions with strong winds and a swell of up to 3m.