Avoca Beach surfer John Robins, who died in freak surfing accident, was a lifesaving hero

John Robins (left) was a devoted surf lifesaving club member.
  • Central Coast builder fatally wounded by his surfboard
  • Horrified family looked on as bystanders attempted to keep him alive
  • Robins loved surfing big waves
JOHN ROBINS lived to surf.
The Central Coast builder and active surf lifesaving club member died in a freak surfing accident near Margaret River in Western Australia yesterday.

It is believed the nose or fin of his surfboard wounded his femoral artery near the 51-year-old’s left groin, causing massive blood loss, after he came off his board at Surfers Point at 11am.
Nearby surfers desperately tried to revive Mr Robins while his wife, two children and father looked on helplessly.

Last year he took on Hawaii’s famous Pipeline for his 50th birthday and a close friend said he had died doing “something he loved”.
He had also been cited for his involvement in the rescue of a woman, after she and another woman were washed off rocks at Avoca Beach in 2012.

Freak death surfer was lifesaving hero

John Robins and his family lived a small shack looking on to Avoca Beach.

Surfer Darryl Naidu, 27, said he was paddling out at Surfers Point in Margaret River about 11am when he saw Mr Robins being washed towards shore after a wipeout.

Two other surfers paddled to his aid and helped Robins to shore but he lost consciousness and died despite the best efforts of surfers and onlookers who took turns performing CPR for almost 30 minutes.

Mr Naidu said fellow surfers did everything they could to save the man.

“I was paddling out and he looked like he’d been caught inside and he was in a bad way,” Mr Naidu said.
Mr Naidu said Mr Robin’s father was in the Surfers Point car park and watched as efforts to revive him failed.

“The dad was watching and he was obviously in a bit of shock,” Mr Naidu said.
“You just wouldn’t believe it because the swell was 2m, the winds were only light, and Surfers Point is always powerful but it wasn’t as powerful as it gets.”
Fellow Avoca Beach Surf Club member Brett Beswick said the small surfing town is in shock.
“He is an absolute top bloke. He volunteered a lot of time for Surf Life Saving. He was a really keen surfer, loved big waves, which is probably why he was at Margaret. It’s a tragedy,” he said.

“If he was going to go out anyway he went out doing something he loved. I’m glad it wasn’t a shark attack.

John Robins (left) lived an active lifestyle and loved the water.

John Robins (left) lived an active lifestyle and loved the water.

“When I first heard about it I thought it was a shark but to hear he bled out while help was waiting to arrive is tragic.

“He went to Hawaii last year for his 50th and surfed 15-foot waves at Pipeline which was a dream for him. We used to surf together a lot, pushed each other on to more gnarly waves.”
Mr Beswick was about to phone Mr Robins about swapping a surf club patrol shift when he heard about the tragedy.

“When it’s one of your own it’s a kick in the guts. A lot of people are just walking around in shock, they couldn’t believe it,” he said.

“He was a really keen fisherman. He just bought a boat six months ago and was spending his spare time, when he wasn’t renovating his house, out on the water.

“He was a really good, well-respected local builder. Avoca being a little a community is really tight. Having another tragedy in town is really terrible.”
Mr Robins moved into a small shack behind Avoca Beach with his wife and children around five years ago.
“He looked out the window on to the beach. He was one of those guys that drew people to him, a friendly nature. We’d quite often sit out there on the rocks and have a beer after having a surf,” Mr Beswick said.
“He was always one of the guys you could count on to help out at the club. He enjoyed life, he was a lovely bloke.”

During the rescue in December 2012, one of the Western Sydney women swept off the rocks by a freak wave while sun baking died while three young Nippers were praised for their quick response.
Mr Robins had recently been training to get his jet ski licence to further his commitment to the surf club.
Friends posted tributes on Facebook.

“You will always be remembered for being the reason we call friends friends ... my deepest condolences to your family. I cannot understand how amazing friends and family can leave us prematurely,” Andrew Duncan wrote.

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