Tragedy as champion Aussie snowboarder drowns on Gold Coast

The sporting world is in mourning following the shock death of champion Australian snowboarder Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, who drowned on the Gold Coast on Thursday morning.

The 32-year-old, a two-time world champion and three-time Olympian, was pulled from the water off 19th Avenue at Palm Beach around 10.30am.

It’s understood he was found unresponsive on the floor of the ocean whilst spearfishing alone at the artificial reef.


A police spokesperson told myGC lifeguards performed CPR on the man at the scene before Queensland Ambulance Paramedics arrived.

Despite desperate attempts by critical care paramedics, he sadly could not be revived and was pronounced deceased just after 11.00am.

“Police and QAS were called to the scene of where a diver was located off the artificial reef here at 19th Avenue,” Senior Sergeant Chris Tritton told reporters at the scene.

“Another diver was out there and located him on the sea floor where he raised the attention of nearby surfers who sought lifeguards to bring him in.

“QAS worked hard for quite a period of time and unfortunately were unable to revive him.”

Senior Sergeant Tritton said Pullin was not wearing an oxygen mask at the time.

“We understand he was free-diving and spearfishing out on the reef, so we will prepare a report for the coroner, who will investigate the cause of his death.”

Pullin appears to be an avid spear-fisherman and free diver, posting dozens of photos and videos of himself taking part in the activities on Instagram.

“Unreal day in the ocean! Whales singing & breaching all around us,” he posted just two weeks ago.

“Hanging with great people, plus bringing home plenty of fish for the week”.

Pullin represented Australia at the 2010 Vancouver games and was the country’s flag bearer at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

He grew up in Mansfield, Victoria and learnt to ski with his family when he was just 3-years-old, according to his website.

“At age 8, his parents who own and run a family ski/snowboard shop in Mansfield, gave him his first chance to step onto a snowboard. From there, he quickly fell in love with it and put as much time as he could into being out riding around his local mountain,” Pullin’s website biography reads.

Snow Australia has since released a statement, saying they’re shocked and saddened by Pullin’s passing.

“The Snow Australia community is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of triple Olympian, Alex Pullin, who today lost his life while spear fishing on the Gold Coast this morning,” the statement begins.

“Our deepest condolences are with Alex’s family, as well as his team mates and support staff. Alex was a beloved member of the Snow Australia community and he will be dearly missed.”

The Australian Olympic team described the 32-year-old as “an incredible athlete, beloved teammate and role model”.

“Three-time Olympian, Australian Flagbearer at Sochi 2014 and two-time World Champion. An incredible athlete, beloved teammate and role model, you will be sorely missed. Rest In Peace,” they tweeted.

Gold Coast surfer Mick Fanning has also taken to social media to pay tribute to his good friend.

“@alexchumpypullin was full of life! Always smiling and full of energy,” Fanning wrote alongside a series of images.

“He accomplished so much in his sport but the work that he put in and the dedication to his craft was second to none. I’ve never seen someone work as hard as Chumpy.

“In saying that his humbleness and joy for life was inspiring. Am honoured to have known him. Sending love to his family and his beautiful girlfriend @ellidy_ Where ever you are mate I know you’re making it better place. Much love ??❤️”


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A report will be prepared for the information of the coroner.

Investigations are ongoing.