Stab Magazine | Sydney's Surf Community Loses A Hero

Sydney’s Surf Community Loses A Hero

L.A. Bob tragically lost his life surfing the wave he loved most this morning, Little Avalon. 

news // Aug 21, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Earlier this morning a 62-year old man drowned at Little Avalon on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, now it has been confirmed the surfer was Bob, a local hero, better known as L.A. Bob. 

The first swell to hit the East Coast of Aus lined up along Sydney’s beaches this morning and understandably a number of spots were alight, one of these been Little Avalon. Tragically, Bob who surfed LA every time it was worthwhile, drowned out there this morning at 62-years of age. 

Local surfers noticed Bob in the water unconscious and quickly scrambled to bring him onto the relative safety of the nearby rocks. CPR was administered for up to 40 minutes by other surfers and off-duty lifesavers as paramedics and other rescue teams arrived, but despite their best efforts, Bob sadly passed away at the scene. 

At this stage it is unknown how Bob became unconscious, specifically, whether it was due to a sustained injury or an unrelated medical condition; regardless, the news of his passing is tragic and has rattled the Northern Beaches surfing community in which he is highly respected among. 

Bob was a single father and has lived in Avalon carpark above LA for a number of years able to surf the wave he loves whenever it’s on. He worked a part-time job to get by, working anywhere between 10 and 30 hours a week, and was a rarity to not see Bob watching at waiting atop the hill there at LA, as Vaughan Blakey recalled in a back-issue of Surfing World.

“In the pre dawn darkness of every morning, Bob parks his van on top of the South Avalon headland, turns the lights and engine off and lets the hum of the motor fade into crickets. Somewhere down below, the little right hand reef he loves to surf is hissing and bubbling away, waiting for him…If I start walking up the hill in the morning and his van isn’t there, I turn straight around and go back to bed. I know that Bob knows.”

In 2017 Spencer Frost made a film titled, Home, which tells the story of Bob and his reasons for living the way he did.  

“I choose to live like this. I like living in my van. I don’t have any regrets about how it’s ended up.” Bob said in the film,”I’m parked on the ocean all the time, I wake up in the morning and I smell that salt air – I listen to the waves – I don’t need to go anywhere.”

“Once I saw the ocean, I’ve never been able to live away from it. And I’ll continue to live next to it until I die.”

Watch the moving and emotional short film above, noting that every single one of those craft were shaped based purely on how they would perform out at Little Avalon.

Bob was a true local legend, one who will be long remembered and admired in the Northern Beaches surfing community – it won’t quite be the same without him.

Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Bob as well as the greater Northern Beaches surfing community.


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