Alex Pullin: Australian snowboarding champion dies aged 32 after drowning while spearfishing in Queensland
Australia’s two-time world champion snowboarder Alex Pullin has died while spearfishing off the Gold Coast.
Pullin, 32, was found unresponsive off Palm Beach in Queensland after being spotted by a snorkeller.
The snowboarder, known as ‘Chumpy’, was Australia’s flag-bearer at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and competed in three Olympics.
The Victoria-born athlete, who won world titles in 2011 and 2013, had previously shared pictures of himself online spearfishing, swimming and surfing.
A statement from Snow Australia read: “The Snow Australia community is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of triple Olympian, Alex Pullin, who today lost his life while spearfishing on the Gold Coast.
“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.”
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While a Queensland Ambulance spokesman said: “The man was spearfishing off Palm Beach. He was brought to shore by bystanders where he was treated by local lifesavers and paramedics.”
Local media stated a snorkeler had spotted Pullin unconscious underwater on an artificial reef before lifeguards brought him to shore and called paramedics.
Police have claimed Pullin had been been diving alone.
“He didn’t have an oxygen mask, we understand he was free diving and spearfishing out on the reef,” Officer Chris Tritton said.
A host of Australian athletes and commentators have also paid tribute to the snowboarder.
“The world will miss such a talented human and a double world champion without ego and without selfishness who is everyone’s best mate,” wrote former Australian speed skater Steven Bradbury.
Pullin first learned to snowboard when he was eight years old and represented Australia in snowboard cross at the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Olympics.