Rest In Peace, Jack Macaulay - Stab Mag
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Jack Macaulay. Photo: Jack O'Grady

Rest In Peace, Jack Macaulay

Underground WA surfer, and brother of CT surfer Bronte Macaulay, has passed away.

news // May 9, 2021
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Sad news out of Gracetown, Western Australia. 

It is with heavy hearts that we report the passing of Jack Macaulay. The underground surfer was in his mid-twenties. 

Our hearts are with his family, his friends, and the Gracetown community. 

Jack was a lovely individual and an incredibly gifted surfer who came from an iconic WA family. Earlier this year, Stab published a profile on the clan titled, Steep And Deep: Inside The Macaulay Surf Dynasty. In it, Jed Smith writes:

Hard work, humility, and radical surfing talent are the hallmarks of the Macaulay family dynasty. So it’s no surprise that four of the six are world class surfers (brother Jack, who works full-time as a kitchenhand, scored one of the waves of the season at Tombstones in 2020 [seen in Isaac Jones’ Instagram tribute below] and is said by Laura to be the best surfer in the family). Generally speaking, the family is considered one the best the west has ever produced. 

“I don’t think there’d be a single person who’d have a bad word to say about that family. They’re all such nice humans and legends,” says Margaret River pro and heavy water specialist, Jacob ‘Chippo’ Wilcox. 

He saw firsthand the dedication of both Bronte and Dave in the desert last season, and it left an impression. 

“It’s crazy. Last year up north, (Dave) surfed so much, like pretty much all day,” he says. 

“He paddles out, has a muesli bar or Mars Bar in his wetsuit, some zinc on, and does eight hours some days. It’s so cool to see and really inspiring that someone who’s 57 loves surfing so much and puts so much work into it,” he says. 

Bronte’s commitment to the ledge at Tombies, meanwhile, even had Chippo rattled at times. 

“Some of the waves she was paddling into, I’d be looking over the ledge going, ‘fuck, that’s hectic,’” he says. 

Though it was her courage in the face of some harrowing beatings that really set her apart. 

“Her character when she was getting smashed—she never gave up, she was straight back out there, asking more questions, and just paddling harder for the next one. This year watching her up there was a cool thing for me. To see her take her surfing to another level was awesome,” he says. 

As harrowing as the paths the Macaulay sisters have chosen are, they’re doing it of their own volition. And this, more than anything, typifies Macaulay family values. 

Bronte is a current CT competitor and is slated to surf against Tatiana Weston-Webb in the semifinals of the Margaret River Pro, which will likely finish today. Word from the ground is that she still intends to surf the heat. However, it would be more than understandable if she decides against it.

The COVID pandemic’s negative impact on mental health worldwide has been widely reported. Suicide rates have increased by 60% globally in the past 45 years. It is now among the three leading causes of death for males and females aged 15-44. You never know what someone is going through. 

In and around surfing, there are a number of programs dedicated to getting young men to look past any stigmas and talk about their mental and emotional well-being, which is a cause Stab wholeheartedly supports. 

Below are a few tributes to Jack.

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