COOLUM Beach grommets are struggling to come to terms with losing the man described as their role model in a shark attack in Western Australia.
Chris Boyd, 35, was surfing alone at Gracetown, about two hours south of Perth, on Saturday when he was taken by what is believed to have been a Great White.
Witnesses said the popular surfer was dead by the time rescuers got him to the beach shortly after 9am.
The death of "Boydy" has rocked the Sunshine Coast surfing fraternity and particularly members of his former club, the Coolum Boardriders.
"A lot of the younger crew are really feeling it, some have never experienced someone so close passing away," Coolum Boardriders chaplain Aaron Bradley said.
"Some of the younger guys who were closer to him, looked up to him as a role model.
"It's very much impacted people across the whole club."
Club president Daryl Maudsley said Mr Boyd grew up in Yaroomba and had been a member of the surfing community "all of his life".
He had two young children, eight-year-old Jalan and six-year-old Sari.
About a year ago, the plumber moved to Western Australia for an extended working holiday.
"He's a mad keen fisherman and surfer, the full gambit," Mr Maudsley said.
"He lived and breathed it.
"It's another surf tragedy.
"I was walking along the beach when his best mate came down and told me on the beach. It was a confronting moment.
"Everyone is gutted. He was such a popular bloke, it doesn't seem right."
Mr Boyd was a Queensland Senior Champion and represented the Sunshine Coast in the Surfing Queensland Coast of Origin Interclub series in 2011.
Mr Maudsley described him as "a pretty amazing character, very gregarious".
"There was never a dull moment," he said.
"Talking to his friends, they went through a huge amount of photos and couldn't find one without a huge grin, he was really outgoing."
Family members, including Mr Boyd's brother Nick, have flown to Western Australia.
Impromptu gatherings have been held in Coolum, providing an outlet for people to grieve.
The boardriders club is organising a paddle out to honour Mr Boyd's memory.
"It's affected people of all ages and ways of life, everyone is gutted," Mr Maudsley said.
Tributes for Mr Boyd flooded social media as news of his death spread yesterday.
"We lost a soldier of the sea. RIP Boydy," wrote one.
His brother Nick posted: "Stay strong friends, he was the best mate and a best brother. RIP."
"When we first heard, we thought it was some very unfunny prank," mate Craig Masters said.
"How could someone so full of life be gone? I unfortunately knew Boydy for only a few years but what an impression he left on us all.
"Everyone was always laughing and smiling when he was around, such a great character and he totally ripped.
"This proves again that life is not fair so treasure the moments with your loved ones. RIP mate."
"We are all really hurting right now, Chris was such great guy and it's devastating for all us surfers for him to be taken in the way he was," - Crys-kai Carroll.
"I hope he is still riding waves up there. RIP Chris." - Shelley Davies.