Chris Davidson death: what Kelly Slater said as Australian surfer dies after one punch in South West Rocks

A man has been charged with assault causing death after punching former pro-surfer Chris Davidson

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The former Australian surfing star Chris Davidson has died after he was punched outside of a pub north of Sydney. Police have said the 45-year-old was hit in the face and fell with his head striking the pavement. He was subsequently treated at the scene but died in hospital a short while after.

Police also added that they were called to Sportsmans Way at South West Rocks just after 11pm on Saturday. following reports a man had been punched and when officers arrived they found the former surfer unconscious on the ground.

A man has been arrested and charged with assault causing death. Local media have said that the 42-year-old man was refused bail on Monday and will face a court in November. Police have not released any further details about the incident which took place in South West Rocks.

Who was Chris Davidson?

Davidson grew up in Sydney and compete on the world surfing tours in 2010 and 2011. His early years saw him surfing at North Narrabeen on Sydney’s northern beaches.

He first shot to fame at the age of 19 after competing int he Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, Australia, in 1996 and went on to beat the reigning world champion Kelly Slater in two heats.

The then 19-year-old entered the Rip Curl Pro as the lowest seed.

Davidson’s best result was a tie for third at the 2010 Portgual event, when he was narrowly defeated by Slater who went on to win the competition.

At the time, Davidson, who was known in the surfing community as ‘Davo’, told the surfing magazine Tracks: “I felt like I surfed pretty well against Kelly, but when he goes and pulls a 360 Alley-Oop on a nothing wave, it’s hard to fight back.”

Davidson had two children.

What has Kelly Slater said?

Fellow former pro-surfer Robert Kelly Slater is an 11-time world champion and took to Instagram to say: “Lost another soldier yesterday. #RipChrisDavo.

“Had many a good battle with this guy. One of the most naturally talented surfers I ever knew.”

Kelly Slater in 1995Kelly Slater in 1995
Kelly Slater in 1995

Tributes to Chris Davidson

Mark Windon, the Surfing New South Wales executive director, said: “He was an asbolute prodigious talent and as flamboyant as he was in the water. He was a larger-than-life character, and for his life to finish that way is really sad.”

Nathan Hedge, one of the former surfer’s best friends, told the Today Show: “I will miss him hanging out with our daughters. He was just robbed too early.

“He had so much more life to give, enjoy and cherish. I will miss his laugh. I will miss his practical jokes and I just miss his passion. He was the most kind-hearted, charismatic incredible person, he’d give you the shirt off his back.”

Surfing Australia also offered their condolences saying Davidson was “an incredibly talented surfer and a true individual in our sport and community.

“Our thoughts go out to his two children, friends and family at this time.”

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