Jim Devlin
Jim Devlin

Have a check-up, sport

By Andy Parks news@northernstar.com.au FEDERAL electrician Jim Devlin is the third local surfer to have suffered a heart attack during a surfing contest, prompting warnings for anyone over 40 to get their health checked before playing sport.

Mr Devlin, 57, was surfing at Wategoes Beach in a longboarding competition on Sunday when he had a fatal heart attack.

He is the second person to die from a heart attack while taking part in a surfing competition in recent years. President of the Byron Bay Boardriders Club, Ben 'BK' King died in March 2006. He was 42.

Another man, Colin Mackie of Skennars Head was lucky to survive after he hit his head on the sand during a competition in Yamba earlier this year. The knock led to a seizure which induced a heart attack, stopping his heart for 35 minutes.

Surfing Far North Coast administrator Keith Anderson said anyone middle-aged doing regular physical activity should get their heart checked.

Mr Anderson had a double bypass operation after being tested for chest pains that he thought was indigestion. He said people often don't know they've got a heart problem.

People should get tested the way they do for other health concerns. Often they don't even know what the warning signs are, and with heart conditions, sometimes there aren't many warnings," he said.

Anyone playing sport (later in life) should get checked - not just surfers."

Federal Longboarders Club president, Gary Lovell said people were aware of the risks.

I've talked about it with a few people," he said.

We know it could happen, and everybody says the same thing, I hope I'm surfing when it happens." Gary Lovell said his friend Jimmy Devlin died doing what he loved to do.

It was a beautiful day, he was among friends and was buzzed out because he'd seen some whales," he said.

We're all just blown out because he seemed fine, he was feeling good."

Jim Devlin was a man who loved his surfing. In fact he was planning to cut down the amount of time he spent working as an electrician to spend more time in the water.

He was a founding member of the Federal Longboarders Club, Second Wind' and last year he was the club's secretary-treasurer. This year he had been nominated for 'Club Man of the Year'. Gary Lovell said Mr Devlin was a much loved and well respected member of the community.

Mr Devlin had lived around Federal for 30 years and had been involved in many community projects including new lighting and extensions to the Federal Hall, and building a bus shelter near the local shop.

Mr Devlin is survived by his wife, Madeline and their two children.

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