Australian Winter Olympics star Alex "Chumpy" Pullin is dead after a freak drowning incident while spearfishing on the Gold Coast.

The high-profile champion snowboarder is believed to have suffered a shallow water blackout at Palm Beach at 10.30am this morning.

According to The Courier-Mail newspaper, Pullin was found unresponsive on the ocean floor at an artificial reef by a snorkeller, who called for help from a group of nearby surfers.

The alarm was raised and a lifeguard raced to assist, pulling him from the surf on a jet ski.

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Paramedics performed CPR for 45 minutes but the 32-year-old couldn't be revived.

Australian snowboard cross Winter Olympic athlete Alex Pullin. Photo / Getty Images
Australian snowboard cross Winter Olympic athlete Alex Pullin. Photo / Getty Images

The incident is reported to have occurred in front of Pullin's family, who were also present on the beach.

He was a seasoned free diver and regularly went spearfishing. He shared an underwater photo of himself in action off the Gold Coast two weeks ago.

Pullin represented Australia at three Winter Olympics and was the team's flag-bearer at the Sochi Games in Russia in 2014.

He was a two-time snowboarding world champion.

Pullin credited his family with his snowsports success, saying his parents taught him to ski at the age of 3.

Tributes are already flowing on social media for the beloved athlete.

He shared a video to his Instagram just two days ago with his long-time partner, model Ellidy Vlug.

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Queensland Police say investigations into the death have commenced.