Peter Neely. Photo by Geoff Potter.
Peter Neely. Photo by Geoff Potter.

Surfing pioneer and Indo icon’s MND battle ends

A PIONEER of surfing in Noosa and Indonesia is being fondly remembered as an unassuming, humble character.

Peter Neely was 69 when he died earlier this month, marking the end of his five-month battle with motor neurone disease.

The Peregian Springs-based surfer was the author of the original surfers travel bible, Indo Surf and Lingo.

Hailed for the respect it showed to the Balinese culture as much as the information it provided wavechasers, the book celebrated its 25th anniversary.

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Mr Neely's wife, Lynne, said her husband had donated his body to Queensland University of Technology for scientific research.

"He was a very quiet, unassuming gentleman," Mrs Neely said.

"He was quiet, he didn't blow his own trumpet."

Contributed surfing photo of Peter Neely
Contributed surfing photo of Peter Neely

Mrs Neely said the pair had been married for 26 years and had lived in Noosa and Bali, and her husband had enjoyed the company of his two Burmese cats, Ketut and Rhonda.

His book, hailed by surfers as the guide to surfing in Indonesia, is sold worldwide and had been translated into Japanese.

He lived and called Bali home in the late-1970s, and was revered for his authentic connection with Balinese and Indonesian people.

Mr Neely judged at the very first surfing competitions held in Bali, at the OM Pro in the early-1980s.

"He will always be remembered, loved and respected throughout Bali and Indonesia," Jenny Midson wrote in a social media tribute to Mr Neely.

"Peter was very content with his life and was always grateful of his lifelong love affair with Bali and its people," the post read.

"Even though Peter was well known in Noosa, Bali and throughout the worldwide surfing community, he loved the quiet, simple life at home with his wife Lynne and their cats."

Contributed surfing photo of Peter Neely
Contributed surfing photo of Peter Neely

Mr Neely was in Bali in 2002, when Paddy's Bar and the Sari Club were rocked by bombings which killed more than 200 people.

He was staying about 500m from the blast site, and after he was flown home, managed to give police an accurate description of two of the bombers, having seen them a week earlier, during what he later believed was a casing of the target sites by the bombers.

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Mrs Neely said the memory of the bombings never left her husband.

Her husband was given two months to live, but survived for five months after his motor neurone disease diagnosis.

Mr Neely passed away in palliative care in Caloundra.

Mrs Neely said her husband had always wanted to come back as a dolphin, so that's how she would remember him, free in the water and free of pain.

"We had such a terrific life together, both here and in Bali," she said.

"He helped a lot of people.

"I'm happy that he's out of pain."

She said Indo Surf and Lingo had a "bright future" when the world returned to normal, and it would continue Mr Neely's legacy.



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