Shark attack victim remembered as a family man

Photo / File
Photo / File

Shark attack victim Chris Boyd will be remembered by those who knew him as a great family man, surfer and role model.

The 35-year-old Margaret River plumber was killed by a shark, thought to be a great white, on Saturday morning.

The father of two was surfing at the popular surf break Umbies off Gracetown, in Western Australia's South West, when the shark bounced off another surfer's board and attacked him.

Mr Boyd was carried to shore, his left arm and part of his right leg gone, witnesses said.

His brother, Nick Boyd, posted on Facebook: "Stay strong friends he was the best mate and a best brother RIP."

The Coolum Boardriders Club in Queensland, where Mr Boyd grew up, posted on Facebook that the surfing world, especially the Yaroomba surf community, had suffered an immense loss and it mourned with Mr Boyd's family including his partner Krystle Westwood.

Club chaplain Aaron Bradley told AAP Mr Boyd was inspirational to many younger surfers who were rattled by his death.

"He was a joyful and fun person to be around and a lot of the younger people looked up to him as a role model," he said.

"We're all getting together and chatting and celebrating his life.

"We're a tight-knit community ... we are going through the grieving process together."

The club will hold a memorial service for Mr Boyd this week.

Other friends on Facebook described him as a "legend", a "soldier of the sea" and "best bloke ever".

Craig Masters wrote: "How could someone so full of life be gone? ... Everyone was always laughing and smiling when he was around, such a great character and he totally ripped."

Mr Boyd's parents and brother flew to Perth on Sunday.

Meanwhile, beaches along an eight-kilometre stretch from Umbies to South Point and on to Huzzas, North Point and the main Gracetown beach will remain closed until at least Sunday night.

The situation will then be reassessed by the Department of Fisheries and local government officials.

A catch and kill order remains in place for the shark with authorities scouring the waters.

Premier Colin Barnett said it was a "tragic" incident and passed on his sympathies to Mr Boyd's family and friends.

He said while he did not support the culling of sharks, the WA government would continue to try to catch those that attacked people and had also increased patrols in WA in recent years.

"Swimming on the beaches in patrolled areas by surf lifesaving clubs has proved to be safe," he said.

"If they're surfing or diving on reefs, it is impossible to provide full protection for those people. It's just a reality of life."

Last month, the state government announced the development of an underwater shark-proof barrier in nearby Dunsborough aimed at repelling sharks, not trapping them.

Mr Boyd's death is WA's first fatal shark attack this year.

It comes weeks after abalone diver Greg Pickering was bitten on the face and body by a five-metre great white while diving off the coast of Esperance.

Gracetown has endured three fatal attacks in the past 10 years.

Surfer Bradley Smith was taken by a great white in 2004 and Nicholas Edwards was killed at nearby South Point in 2010.

The region is currently packed with people including school leavers and international visitors for the Margaret River Gourmet Escape.

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 28 Nov 2014 07:42:35 Processing Time: 462ms