Britain’s fastest windsurfer Farrel O’Shea collapses and dies of cardiac arrest on French beach shortly after breaking another speed record

  • Windsurfer Farrel O’Shea passed away on Sunday while in south of France for a competition

A British ‘true legend’ of windsurfing has tragically died on a French beach shortly after setting another speed record. 

Farrel O’Shea was walking on a beach in La Palme, southern France, on Sunday when he suffered a cardiac arrest before passing away, devastated friends have revealed.

He was in the region to take part in the Prince of Speed World Record Attempt 2024 event before he died.  

The 60-year-old had just broken another speed record for the wingfoil, a smaller type of board that requires surfers to carry a ‘wing’ to propel them through water. 

O’Shea, who was originally from Shropshire but moved to the Gwynedd coast in Wales in the 1980s, was with fellow champion windsurfer Zara Davis when he died. 

She said: ‘He died doing what he loved.’

Farrel O’Shea (pictured) was walking on a beach in La Palme, southern France, on Sunday when he quickly took ill before passing away

O'Shea was a champion wingfoil surfer, having just beaten a speed record before he died

O’Shea was a champion wingfoil surfer, having just beaten a speed record before he died

Tributes poured in following the news of O'Shea's death

Tributes poured in following the news of O’Shea’s death 

‘Farrel was my mentor, my inspiration and my friend. He had a clever, dry wit and never failed to make you smile.

‘He was generous to all with his time and unrivalled knowledge of speed windsurfing, a true legend of the sport.

‘He was deeply loved and will be missed by so many family and friends around the world’, she added. 

O’Shea, who started a surfing company, was a British record holder, managing to travel up to 51.2 knots – about 59mph – on the wingfoil. 

He also developed several technical moves in the field. 

His company, O’Shea Surf, said he was ‘one of life’s good guys’.

‘He was deeply loved by so many and will be forever in our hearts,’ they added.

Tributes poured in from further afield as well.  

SUP North Wales, a Gwynedd-based water sports tour company, described O’Shea as ‘was one of the most down to earth and unassuming people’.

‘His knowledge of all things ‘boardie’ was limitless.’

‘Straight talking, dry, funny and with no airs or graces, a very sad loss for the world of windsurfing and stand up paddle boarding. He’d done it all, from holding world windsurfing speed records to strapping a jet engine to a jumbo inflatable paddleboard.

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