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Lifesavers mourn lost teen

Maroochydore competitor Matt Barclay's body was found in surf yesterday at Broadbeach, a day after he disappeared at the Australian Surf Lifesaving Titles.
Maroochydore competitor Matt Barclay's body was found in surf yesterday at Broadbeach, a day after he disappeared at the Australian Surf Lifesaving Titles. Cade Mooney

THE body of teen lifesaver Matt Barclay was found in surf at Broadbeach, a day after he disappeared in rough waters at the 2012 Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships.

The body was found offshore from Northcliffe Surf Club around 9.30am yesterday morning and was transferred to a water police boat.

The lifesaving community yesterday mourned the loss of the 14-year-old with Emu Park first course director and ski coach Vance Murphy shocked by the death.

"It is absolutely devastating that someone so young has lost his life, it's just an empty hollow feeling knowing something like this has occurred again," he said.

The local sporting director was down at the titles when the tragedy occurred.

"My son was competing in the under-19 division for Northcliffe," Murphy said.

"The surf is an unpredictable nature of the event and unfortunately it is what has created this ungodly situation."

Mr Murphy vividly recalled the 2010 Australian titles where Sydney ironman Saxon Bird tragically drowned.

"The conditions at the time of Saxton's death were three times the conditions they have been this year," he said.

"The steps that were in place this time were unbelievable," he said.

"The reaction time just blew me away.

"I truly commend them for their efforts, the whole competition was instantly shut down and lifesavers were in the water."

Despite the "handful" of fatalities since surf lifesaving carnivals began in 1915, Mr Murphy said the three deaths at Kurrawa were "an extraordinary run of bad fortune".

"It is worrying, but, realistically, there have been more lives lost in football games than there has been in surf lifesaving," he said.

"My son has been competing since he was eight years old.

"I didn't consider yesterday a very high risk, it was just an unfortunate event."

More than 6500 competitors and officials were reliving their worst nightmares after Matthew's board washed up on Kurrawa Beach on Wednesday afternoon.

"They have plans in place to conduct a service sometime in the near future," Mr Murphy said.

"It is going to be very tough for competitors to put something this drastic behind them and move on."

Mr Murphy was unsure as to whether the carnival would still be going ahead, with the finals still to be contested.

Surf conditions will continue to be monitored by officials throughout the next few days.

Topics:  kurrawa beach matt barclay surf life saving