Boardrider dies during titles at Pippi Beach
By SALLY GORDON
BEN King, the president of Surfing Far North Coast and Byron Bay Boardriders' Club, died at Pippi Beach, Yamba, yesterday.
It is believed he suffered a heart attack at 9.45am.
Mr King, 42, had competed in the Pacific Hotel Surfing Far North Coast (SFNC) Regional Titles in the Over-40s division at the beach.
Yamba Ambulance Station manager Alan Smith said Mr King was in full cardiac arrest when ambulancemen got to the beach around 10am.
Mr King was pronounced dead on arrival at the Maclean District Hospital.
Surfing officials cancelled the remainder of yesterday's competition.
SFNC administrator Keith Anderson said his friend, Mr King, had walked from the surf and collapsed, face first, on the sand.
"He'd surfed his heat and when he came in he said to a couple of guys that he knew on the beach, 'I've had it, I've never worked so hard in all my life'," Mr Anderson said.
"Then he went face first into the sand. We're lucky we had a father that was surfing who came straight in and tried to resuscitate him until the ambulance arrived."
Mr Smith said ambulancemen arrived to find a doctor, a nurse and lifesavers attempting to resuscitate Mr King.
He said ambulance and medical crews treated Mr King for almost an hour before he was taken to hospital.
"The ambulance crews, along with the doctor, took hold of the resuscitation with electric shocks and drugs but unfortunately he didn't respond," Mr Smith said.
Mr King was well-known in the North Coast surfing fraternity and had lived in Byron Bay all his life.
The former builder and real estate agent leaves a wife, Jenny and three children, Kurt, Maddie and Paris.
The first round of the popular surfing competition had only completed two of the girls' heats before Mr King's collapse.
Mr Anderson said a meeting now would be called to work out who was in the finals.
Organisers would have to decide whether the competition would return to Yamba for completion or go through with the next round at Cabarita.
"The idea is that maybe we can run these finals first and then the event," Mr Anderson said.
"I've got a funny feeling that if the guys go back to Yamba it will be a healing process for them.
"It was just such a shock."