The New Zealand surfing community is in shock after the tragic loss of ‘one of New Zealand’s most respected surfers’, Jamie Civil, died on Saturday while free surfing on Aramoana Spit in Dunedin.
Tributes are pouring in online from New Zealand’s top surfers, including Billy Stairmond and Page Hareb, as well as some of the country’s top winter sports athletes who were close to Civil.
He died at Aramoana Beach in Dunedin on Saturday afternoon after being pulled from the water.
He was brought ashore and received medical attention, but could not be revived.
His death will be referred to the coroner.
A Givealittle page has raised over $50,000 after it was created on Sunday afternoon and shared via NZ Surfing Mag to support partner Courtney and their baby girl Lenni.
In an emotional Instagram post on Sunday evening, NZ Surfing Mag acknowledged the loss.
“The loss of loved ones, friends and respected colleagues through illness, age or accident can be extremely difficult to bear, when you lose someone who does what they do. the best, which can be a real kick in the gut, and yesterday that’s exactly what happened to one of New Zealand surfing’s most respected surfers in Jamie Civil, who died while surfing the Aramoana Spit in Dunedin.
“Jamie was by far one of the most respected barrels in the country, often referred to as ‘New Zealand’s most barred man’. With 6-8 foot barrels on offer, Jamie surfed freely and had just surfed a wave and was paddling when passers-by noticed his board was floating and rushed to his aid, but all attempts to revive Jamie have failed.Our love and strength goes out to Jamie’s family, loved ones and friends.
1News understands that a rāhui is currently in place on the beach where Civil died.
A spokesperson for South Coast Boardriders described Civil as a “valued member of South Coast Boardriders, one of our best elite surfers”.
“He’s surfed some of the biggest waves in New Zealand and the south coast of Dunedin,” they said.
The spokesperson said Civil must have been in trouble and it was just an accident.
“Jamie is really experienced, he’s been surfing much bigger waves, bigger waves, more intense waves.”
The spokesman was on the water with Jamie just 15 minutes before the incident and said ‘the last time I saw him he had the biggest smile.
He was a “great surfer and a great person”.
The spokesperson said Civil has plenty of medical support on the beach and would like to thank them all for their help and support.