Update, 4pm: A 58-year-old man who drowned this morning at Surfers Point in Prevelly has been described as a competent and experienced surfer, who had surfed regularly at Margaret River for more than 20 years.
The drowning death has cast a pall among the close-knit surfing community including the many people who knew the man from frequent early morning surfs at Margaret River's best known break.
Margaret River surfboard maker Tom Hoye said he made boards for the man for over 20 years and spoken to him only yesterday.
Mr Hoye was told this morning by other surfers that his friend had died.
“I was totally shocked, he was a competent surfer who had been surfing at the main breaks at Margaret River for more than 20 years,” he said.
“I know the waves this morning were eight to 10 foot, but this is something we do over and over.
“He was a beautiful guy and the last person you would expect this to happen to.”
Mr Hoye said surfing always carried a risk.
“It’s a serious movement of water,” he said.
It’s understood the man had a holiday home in Margaret River and visited the town to surf at least once a month.
It’s understood three long-time surfers at Margaret River helped to retrieve the man and tried to revive him on the beach.
One of the men – who asked not to be named – described the events at ‘tragic.’
“I swam out to try and help, and helped to bring him in,” he said.
”It’s pretty tragic.”
Another surfer who asked not to named was in the water when the man was discovered floating face down at 6.30am.
"I was out the back when I heard this whistling, as blokes further in called to each other to help, I think they worked on him for quite a while," he said.
"Then someone else paddled out and told us what was going on.
"The mood was pretty somber down here this morning."
Attempts were made to revive the man on the beach but he died at the scene.
The man said conditions were good and there had been little wind, but the swell had been large.
"But if you fall off a big wave, you can hit your head on the board, or get tangled in your leg rope, anything can happen".
It's understood the man was found near reef.
Surf Life Saving WA spokesman said the incident happened before life savers were on duty.
The circumstances leading to the man's drowning are not known but police are treating the death as non-suspicious.
Police will prepare a report for the coroner.The man's name has not been released as it is unclear whether all family members have been notified of his death.
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