Former Australia pro-surfer Chris Davidson is believed to have died after a one-punch attack during a brawl outside a pub on the New South Wales mid-north coast. According to police, Davidson, 45, fell on the ground hitting his head after being allegedly punched in the head during a brawl.
The Waratahs coach Darren Coleman's brother Grant Coleman has been charged with assault resulting in death. It is understood Darren Coleman drove to the area on Sunday to support his brother, 42, and family. Davidson had represented Australia in surfing and was living in the area. Police have launched an investigation and further details are yet to be shared.
According to police, they were called to Sportsman Way at South West Rocks around 11 pm on Saturday, after it was reported that a man was assaulted in the face, fell to the ground, and banged his head on the concrete. He was treated by paramedics before being rushed to Kempsey Hospital where he died of his injuries, according to police.
The victim was later identified as Davidson. According to the Daily Telegraph, the accused attacker is Grant Coleman, brother of Darren Coleman, head rugby coach of the NSW Waratahs. Around 12:40 in the morning, he was taken into custody at a South West Rocks residence and charged with assault resulting in death 30 minutes after the attack.
He was refused bail and appeared in Port Macquarie bail court on Sunday.
Locals said that Coleman and Davidson were both well known in the region. Police have not disclosed information about what they think caused the incident that resulted in Davidson's death.
A forensics team constructed a crime scene and investigated it early on Sunday.
Death By Chance
In the early 1990s, Davidson was a member of the Rip Curl Search squad, and during the peak of his career, Tracks magazine described him as "one of the most gifted surfers in the world." He held the 14th-best overall ranking in the sport in 2010.
At the age of 19, Davidson received a wildcard to the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, where he notably defeated Kelly Slater in two consecutive heats, launching his professional career.
In his prime, Davidson was hailed as one of the finest surfers ever, and in 2010 he was ranked as the sport's #14 international surfer.
The Narrabeen native won the 1991 Cadet Cup at the age of only 15. Four years later, Kelly Slater was given permission to compete in the elite Rip Curl Pro event at Bells Beach, where he won both of his heats against the world champion.
Tributes started pouring in soon after news of Davidson's death broke. "Lost another soldier yesterday. #RipChrisDavo. Had many a good battle with this guy. One of the most naturally talented surfers I ever knew," Slater wrote on Instagram Sunday.
"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," Surfing NSW executive director Mark Windon shared with Australian outlet ABC, calling Davidson a "larger-than-life character."