Tragic loss of bodyboarder at Fingal Head mourned
TRIBUTES have been pouring in for 20-year-old bodyboarder Dylan Carpenter who died in the treacherous Fingal Head surf on Sunday.
Fingal Rovers Surf Life Saving Club administrator Michael Crawley said the club's members were deeply saddened by Mr Carpenter's death, saying it had strengthened their resolve to get the club back into full operation.
Emergency services scrambled to rescue Mr Carpenter at 11.30am on Sunday, as he lost his board and attempted to climb onto rocks, before a wave knocked him unconscious.
While he couldn't comment on the details of the incident, Mr Crawley said volunteers from across the region, including Cudgen and Cabarita Surf Life Saving Clubs, rallied together to assist in the rescue operation.
With the third death in two years taking place in the headland's dangerous waters, he urged beach-goers to avoid the deadly section of the beach.
"Don't swim at the rocks, don't swim at the headland... or near Cosy Corner," Mr Crawley said.
"It's a dangerous space and there is only one place to swim: between the flags."
The warning came as almost 100 close friends and family turned up at the beach on Monday to remember Dylan.
They placed flowers and wreathes into the ocean as mates hugged each other and friends comforted family.
Earlier, Mr Carpenter's uncle, Scott Gemmell, paid tribute to him on Facebook, describing the incident as "tragic beyond words".
"He was doing what he loved ... surfing with his mates but that doesn't make it any easier.," he wrote.
"Our family is devastated. Natalie and Jason (Dylan's parents) are taking their time.
"Our world has been turned upside down in a moment of time.
"Dyl' my boy, you've rocked our world! You were one of a kind!"
Tweed local Jarod Thomas, 18, said he'd seen first hand the dangers of the location.
"It's such a dangerous sport and it's really hard for the surf life savers to undertake rescues because of the rocks," Mr Thomas told News Corp.
Mr Thomas said he had a close call at Fingal Head last December where he fought to stay afloat for two hours.
"I was so lucky to come out alive," he said.
Dylan's was the third water-based death at Fingal Head in recent years after New Zealand woman Aggie Auelua, 26, drowned in October 2015 and Gold Coast man and experienced surf-goer Ryan Martin, 30, died on March 25 last year.
Both were trying to rescue children at the time.