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Avalon Beach drowning: Local legend ‘Homeless Bob’ dies in monster swell

A local surfer known as ‘Homeless Bob’ has tragically drowned at a popular Sydney beach.  

Witnesses pulled the unconscious man, in his 60s, from the water at Avalon just before 9am on Tuesday. He couldn’t be revived.  

Daily Mail Australia understands the victim is Bob Whiteman, a popular local who lived in his van on the Avalon headland.

The single father, who worked a part-time job to fund his nomadic lifestyle, appeared in short film by Spencer Frost in 2017.  

‘The ocean, for me, is everything in my life… I’m always here. If life is stressing you out in different ways, you can jump in the ocean and float around and any troubles, problems, just seem to float away from you,’ he said in the film.

A local surfer known as ‘Homeless Bob’ (pictured) has tragically drowned at a popular Sydney beach

The surfer, in his 60s, was pulled from the water and paramedics tried to revive him at South Avalon Headland

The surfer, in his 60s, was pulled from the water and paramedics tried to revive him at South Avalon Headland

‘Every day of my life, I’ve been the first one in the water in the morning – and the last one out of an evening. 

‘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.’ 

He added: ‘I choose to live like this. I like living in my van. I don’t have any regrets about how it’s ended up. 

‘Hindsight is a wonderful thing when you’re looking at your life. There’s probably things you’d change – but I’ve had a great life… How good is life?’ 

Distraught Avalon locals said the death of the ‘beaut guy’ had ‘rocked’ the community.

‘I’ve watched the film a few times and thought that it takes real guts to ignore all the external pressures of what life ”should” be and just do what you love,’ one said.

‘Sad to read this. All the best in the next world Bob.’ 

The popular local identity (pictured) appeared a short film by Spencer Frost in 2017

The popular local identity (pictured) appeared a short film by Spencer Frost in 2017

'Every day of my life, I've been the first one in the water in the morning and the last one out of an evening,' he said

‘Every day of my life, I’ve been the first one in the water in the morning and the last one out of an evening,’ he said

Another wrote on Facebook: ‘I had to pick both my girls up from school because they fell apart when they heard the news.

‘He would take them surfing… all the time, he was like a second dad to them. They both wear bracelets that he gave them.’ 

Witnesses desperately tried to revive the surfer on South Avalon Headland until paramedics arrived, but he died at the scene. 

His leg rope became caught on rocks and he was unable to untangle himself, according to unconfirmed reports. 

‘About seven or eight young surfers found him… They managed to get him up onto the rocks and started CPR straight away,’ a witness told the Manly Daily. 

'The ocean, for me, is everything in my life. It gives me joy and happiness on many levels. It sets challenges both physically and mentally,' he said in the film

‘The ocean, for me, is everything in my life. It gives me joy and happiness on many levels. It sets challenges both physically and mentally,’ he said in the film

Witnesses pulled the unconscious man, in his 60s, from the water at Avalon Beach just before 9am on Tuesday. He couldn't be revived 

Witnesses pulled the unconscious man, in his 60s, from the water at Avalon Beach just before 9am on Tuesday. He couldn’t be revived 

‘The paramedics then took over, but they couldn’t save him.’  

Officers from Northern Beaches Police Area Command are making inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the man’s death.

A report will be prepared for the coroner. 

More to come.  

Officers from Northern Beaches Police Area Command are making inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the man's death

Officers from Northern Beaches Police Area Command are making inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the man’s death

Emergency crews rushed to South Avalon Headland (pictured) just before 9am on Tuesday

Emergency crews rushed to South Avalon Headland (pictured) just before 9am on Tuesday

 



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