Memorial surf for Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin
HUNDREDS of boardriders have taken part in an emotional paddle out on the Gold Coast to honour Australian snowboard hero Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin.
A huge crowd including a who's who of surfing royalty gathered in the pre-dawn light for the paddle out at Palm Beach, where the two-time Olympian and former world champion drowned on Wednesday.
His heartbroken partner Ellidy Vlug and his father Chris Pullin were among the contingent on the water for the paddle out, a surfing ritual to honour fallen friends, while his faithful dog Rummi ran around the shoreline.
They returned to shore in tears, being consoled by a close circle of friends and were too upset to talk to the media.
Ellidy's mother Karen, who watched from the beach, said it had been 'an emotional week'.
"Ellidy's exhausted," she said.
Surfing world champions Mick Fanning and Steph Gilmore took part and paid tribute to the snowboard star, who was equally at home at the beach as on the slopes.
"He was an Australian icon," said an emotional Gilmore.
"I hadn't spent a lot of time with him, but he left such an impact on me.
"He was taken way too soon."
Fanning said Pullin was a larger than life character who would have been smiling down on the huge turn out.
"He was an incredible athlete, so talented and so driven, but that was nothing compared to the kind of person he was," he said.
"He was a person who was larger than life."