Family call of search for missing paddler Jordan Kelly at Stradbroke Island

Heartbroken family calls off the search for missing surf skier who went missing without a trace in a huge swell – after his mate paddled to safety for seven hours

  • 26-year-old Kiwi surf skier Jordan Kelly has been missing since Saturday
  • He and a mate got caught in a huge swell while off North Stradbroke Island 
  • His friend said Mr Kelly ‘slipped away’ after becoming exhausted by waves 
  • Family called off the search on Wednesday after no trace of him was found 

The devastated family of a missing surf skier who disappeared in rough seas has called off the search after there was no sign of him for four days.

Jordan Kelly, 26, became separated from his mate Jack McDonald while they were paddling their surf skis off North Stradbroke Island, near Brisbane, on Saturday.

Both ended up in the water when Mr McDonald’s ski started to sink. The 28-year-old told police his friend Jordan ‘slipped away’ after exhaustion set in.

Mr McDonald was able to paddle to safety, making it to Amity Point Wharf on the island at about 8pm, about seven hours after they got into trouble.

The search for 26-year-old Jordan Kelly (right), who vanished during a surf ski trip around Stradbroke Island in Queensland’s Moreton Bay, continues

Police boats and helicopters along with Mr Kelly and Mr McDonald’s family and friends searched for days but have finally give up hope. 

‘It’s with heavy hearts that we would like to inform everyone that tonight at sunset we have decided to end the search mission for Jord,’ his sister Danielle Brittain wrote to volunteers on social media.

‘This has been a difficult decision and it will be incredibly tough to leave him, but Rachel and our family, have found comfort and are at peace that he has found his resting place where he loved to be the most, and what a beautiful spot he chose.

‘We have received an incredible amount of donations that have helped with the search and will also be given to the volunteer organisations.’

Police vessels and helicopters resumed the search on Tuesday morning when conditions improved, but failed to find any trace of Mr Kelly or his paddle.

The men, both in their mid-20s, were reported missing after they did not return from surf skiing near North Stradbroke Island between Dunwich and Cylinder Beach

The men, both in their mid-20s, were reported missing after they did not return from surf skiing near North Stradbroke Island between Dunwich and Cylinder Beach

‘We haven’t found any clues, we haven’t found Jordan and there’s a paddle still outstanding, so if any member of the public finds a black carbon fibre paddle we would definitely be interested in that,’ Brisbane Water Police acting Senior Sergeant Mitch Gray told ABC Radio.

He said Mr McDonald was ‘doing it tough’, but had recovered from mild hypothermia and been debriefed about the incident by water police.

Mr McDonald had also been able on Monday night to return to the area where Mr Kelly disappeared on Saturday night to help police narrow down the search area using shore lights and landmarks.

‘You know being there all the way to the end and then having to make that decision to paddle back to land, yeah, I can’t imagine what that would feel like,’ Sgt Gray added.

Members of Mr Kelly’s family have arrived from New Zealand on Monday, with others on their way.

Sgt Gray paid tribute to members of the North Stradbroke Island and Moreton Bay community for doing everything they could to help the search, particularly the Coast Guard and Volunteer Marine Rescue personnel.

‘Some people are even, you know, not turning up to work, their work’s been very good to let them go and be out there and help us,’ he said.

‘So you know these jobs don’t go get that without the community and volunteers.’