Surfer dies at Gunnamatta beach

A surfer has died after being pulled from the water at a popular Mornington Peninsula beach on Saturday.

Des Watson, 65, of Armstrong Creek, was competing in a Kneeboard Surfing Victoria event at Gunnamatta beach when he was hit in the head with his board, police said.

Surfer Des Watson drowned after being hit on the head with his own board. Surfer Des Watson drowned after being hit on the head with his own board. Photo: 7NEWS Melbourne

He was dragged unconscious from the water near Truemans Road at Fingal shortly before 11am.

Emergency services tried to resuscitate Mr Watson but he died at the scene.

Surf Life Saving Australia describes Gunnamatta beach as "extremely hazardous" due to its high waves and strong rips. Surf Life Saving Australia describes Gunnamatta beach as “extremely hazardous” due to its high waves and strong rips. Photo: Danie Sprague

Surfing Victoria spokesman Liam Robertson said the surfing community was shaken by the death. 

“We want to pass on our condolences to the family and friends of the surfer who passed away, and to all of the club members who were there,” he said.

“It’s obviously a pretty tragic time.”

Surf Life Saving Australia describes Gunnamatta beach as “very hazardous” due to its high waves and strong rips close to shore.

Peninsula Surfriders Club past president Adam Morris said the beach could be treacherous. 

“It opens to very large swells coming straight out of Bass Strait and the unpredictable nature of all the rips and so forth make it very dangerous,” he said.

Another local surfer, Kai Leong, said the sandbars moved which made the beach unpredictable.

“The thing about Gunnamatta, it’s a sandbar surf beach,” he said.

“So, when it’s big … the sandbars move.

“I used to surf a lot and it’s hard yakka when you’re surfing the sandbars. It can be unpredictable.”   

Police will prepare a report for the coroner.

more to come…

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