A former pro surfer has been remembered as a “kind-hearted, charismatic and beautiful person” after he was killed in an alleged one-punch attack on the NSW Mid-North Coast on Saturday night.
Chris Davidson was allegedly punched by another man, causing him to hit his head on the pavement and die.
Police allege Grant Coleman, the brother of NSW Waratahs coach Darren Coleman, is responsible for the attack.
The 42-year-old has been charged with assaulting Mr Davidson and causing his death outside the South West Rocks Country Club about 11pm on Saturday.
He was refused bail and appeared at Port Macquarie Bail Court on Sunday.
One of Mr Davidson’s best mates and fellow surfer Nathan Hedge said he was “fortunate” to have known him since they were 12 years old.
“He was such an asset to myself and the surf community,” he told the Today show on Monday.
“Just tragic to lose Chris in such crappy circumstances, just tragic.”
He emotionally described Mr Davidson as “the most kind-hearted, charismatic, incredible person”.
He’d give you the shirt off his back … he was just such a beautiful person,” Mr Hedge said.
“Just did everything with passion and commitment, full conviction. He was such a unique character … he was so strong-willed and just loved life.
“You always knew Chris was around and he left you knowing that he was there with you. And he just wanted to make sure you were having a good time as well.
“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.”
Mr Hedge said the alleged one-punch attack had ruined two lives.
“Nobody wins, it’s just the worst thing ever,” he said.
“Not only has Chris’ life been taken from us, the other person’s life is shattered and ruined as well.
“It’s got to stop … it’s just got to end.”
Mr Davidson was a member of the Rip Curl Search team in the early 1990s, and Tracks magazine described him as “one of the most gifted surfers in the world” at the peak of his career.
In 2010, he was ranked number 14 globally in the sport.
Mr Davidson’s career was kickstarted in 1996 when at 19 he was granted a wildcard into the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach and famously defeated Kelly Slater in two consecutive heats.
Slater posted an emotional tribute to Davidson to his Instagram story on Sunday.
“Lost another soldier yesterday,” he wrote.
“Had many a good battle with this guy. One of the most naturally talented surfers I ever knew.”
Emergency services were called to Sportsmans Way, South West Rocks, at 11pm on Saturday after reports of an incident outside a licensed venue.
Police alleged a 45-year-old man was punched in the face, fell to the ground and hit his head on the pavement.
He was treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken to Kempsey Hospital, where he died a short time later.