Surfing Legend Dies in 'One-Punch' Assault

Chris Davidson 'was one of the most stylish surfers we'd ever produced in this country'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2022 12:15 PM CDT
Updated Oct 1, 2022 12:50 PM CDT
Aussie Surfing Legend Dies in 'One-Punch' Assault
In a photo provided by the Association of Surfing Professionals, Chris Davidson competes in the Rip Curl Pro Portugal surfing event Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010, in Peniche, Portugal.   (AP Photo/Association of Surfing Professionals, Kirstin Scholtz)

Australia's surfing community is mourning former pro surfer Chris Davidson, who died after an alleged assault outside a pub in New South Wales Saturday night. Police say the 45-year-old was found unconscious outside the South West Rocks Country Club, around five hours north of Sydney, after emergency services received a report that a man had fallen to the ground and hit his head on the sidewalk after being punched in the face, the Illawarra Mercury reports. Davidson died shortly after he was taken to a hospital.

Grant Alec Coleman, 42, was arrested and charged with assault causing death and intentionally choking a person. Coleman, the younger brother of the coach of New South Wales Waratahs rugby team, has been denied bail. Davidson, nicknamed "Davo," shot to fame in 1996 when the then-19-year-old beat world champion Kelly Slater in two consecutive heats at the Rip Curl Pro after being granted a wildcard entry, the BBC reports.

Surfing NSW executive director Mark Windon tells the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Davidson "was a larger-than-life character, and for his life to finish that way is really sad." "He was one of the most stylish surfers we'd ever produced in this country. He was an absolute prodigious talent and as flamboyant as he was in the water," Windon says, adding that he was "right up there at the top of the professional world for quite a few years, and on his day could beat anyone." In 2014, Australia toughened sentencing guidelines after a spate of "one-punch" deaths and Coleman is likely to face a minimum sentence of eight years in prison if found guilty. (More Australia stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.