News

Surfer dies in Indonesia: ‘Everyone just loved Luke’

TRAGEDY: Former Byron Bay resident Peter Luke, who was killed in a surfing incident off the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, on Monday, seen with his sister Laura.
TRAGEDY: Former Byron Bay resident Peter Luke, who was killed in a surfing incident off the Indonesian island of Sumbawa, on Monday, seen with his sister Laura.

THE death of former Byron Bay resident Pater Luke in a surfing incident off the Indonesian island of Sumbawa on Monday has left many people on the Northern Rivers in mourning.

The popular 27-year-old physical education school teacher and football player moved from Warrnambool, Victoria, to Byron Bay, in 2007, to study teaching at Lismore's Southern Cross University.

In October 2013, Mr Luke was bitten by the travel bug and flew to Canada.

He landed a job at the renowned ski resort of Whistler, where he made many friends.

After about nine months at Whistler, Mr Luke left for Australia, via Indonesia, for a surfing holiday with two mates.

It was there the trio took a boat trip from Sumbawa, searching for the perfect wave, when they discovered huge five-metre barrels at Scar Reef.

West Sumbawa police chief Teddy Hendyawan Syarif said the surf at the spot was huge at the time Mr Luke was killed.

"The victim's death was caused by a wave smashing into him, which at that time was massive, up to five metres high," he told reporters.

Surfers are lured to the island of Sumbawa, west of Bali, by the promise of huge perfect waves that break over shallow reefs.

Physical education teacher at Ballina's Southern Cross School Paul Kirkland said he met Mr Luke when he moved to Byron Bay and began studying at SCU.

They quickly became close mates when Mr Luke joined Lennox Head Football club, where Mr Kirkland coached and played.

"He was just a true gentleman, he really was," he said.

"He didn't have a bad fault and everyone just loved him.

"He had a really infectious smile and you couldn't help but warm to him."

Once he graduated and started working at Southern Cross School and Richmond River High, casually, Mr Kirkland said Mr Luke became very popular with students and colleagues.

"It was a big shock because he was going to be home in a week or two."

Mr Luke's body is being flown to Warrnambool, where his funeral is expected to be held.

He is survived by his parents Allan and Mary and his sister Laura.

Topics:  dies, indonesia, surfer




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

PHOTOS: Bulls, axes, hot rods and more at Beef Week Saturday

WHIP IT: Beef Week Queen entrant Alice Magner with Zac Simeoni, 6, one of the winners of the junior Jackaroo competition at Beef Week Saturday. Zac also took out the under-sevens whip cracking competition. "He was stoked," dad Andrew said.

Check out some of the highlights of Beef Week Saturday 2016.

See the bull that stole Beef Week

NO BULL: Triple M Knockout, the 968kg Red Angus bull of the Rukenvale Triple M stud, won the Beef Week supreme exhibit award, alongside his proud owners Craig and Renae Gapes.

Prize bull takes judges' breath away.

Why you should never buy a brand new car

Think of how much you'll lose in depreciation.

Latest deals and offers

Lismore real estate agent celebrates 100th birthday

LJ Hooker Lismore principal Paul Deegan is the third generation to operate the 100-year-old family business.

A Lismore real estate is celebrating 100 years in business.

Coastal development keeps young people on Northern Rivers

Wes Bale is a 27-year-old born and bred Lennox Head local who is an example of the demographic shift in the region.

Young Northern Rivers residents are looking closer to home