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Surfing champion Chris Davidson killed in alleged one-punch attack at pub

Surfing champion Chris Davidson killed in alleged one-punch attack at pub

The likes of Kelly Slater have paid tribute to the late pro surfer.

Former pro surfing champion Chris Davidson has died after an alleged one-punch attack at an NSW mid-north coast pub.

Emergency services had been called to Sportsmans Way at South West Rocks on Saturday night (September 24) just after 11 pm.

Police found the 45-year-old unconscious on the ground and alleged he had been punched in the face, fallen, and hit his head on the pavement.

Davidson was rushed to Kempsey Hospital soon after but passed away a short time later.

According to, a 42-year-old man was later arrested at his home early on Sunday (September 25) and was charged with assault causing death.

He was refused bail and appeared in Port Macquarie Bail Court that same day.

Davidson famously beat the 11-time world champion, Kelly Slater, in two consecutive heats back in 1996.

He was just 19-year-old when he was chosen as a wildcard into the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach.

The man he defeated on that occasion, the surfing legend Slater, posted a tribute to his counterpart on his Instagram story overnight. 

“Lost another soldier yesterday,” he wrote.

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

Kelly Slater/Instagram.

Davidson was a member of the Rip Curl Search team in the early 1990s and Tracks magazine called him ‘one of the most gifted surfers in the world’. 

He hit a ranking of number 14 globally back in 2010.

Fellow professional surfer and Davidson’s good friend Nathan Hedge appeared on the Today Show to pay tribute to his mate.

He said: “He was such an asset to myself and the surf community.

“Just tragic to lose Chris in such crappy circumstances, just tragic.”

He described his friend as ‘the most kind-hearted, charismatic, incredible person’. 

He added: “I’ll miss surfing with Chris. I will miss him hanging out with our daughters ... just robbed too early. He had so much more life to give, enjoy and cherish.”

The late surfer grew up in North Narrabeen on Sydney’s northern beaches and went on to compete on the Men’s Championship Tour in 2010 and 2011.

His best result was a third place medal behind Kelly Slater at the 2010 Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

Featured Image Credit: Billabong/YouTube. Rip Curl/YouTube.

Topics: Australia, Surfing