Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin – Snow Legend

Hotham snow
Chumpy at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. PHOTO: Steve Cuff.

By Steve Cuff

THE snow community is in mourning today after the shock news that champion snowboarder and Australian Winter Olympian, Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, has died in a tragic spearfishing accident on the Gold Coast.

One of the most likeable and humble personalities in Australian sport, Chumpy, as he was always referred to, drowned this morning while spearfishing off an artificial reef at 19th Avenue at Palm Beach.

The 32 year old two time snowboard cross World Champion also represented Australia at three Winter Olympic games, Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014, where he was flag bearer for the Australian team and PyeongChang 2018.

He was a true legend and renowned ambassador of Australian snowboarding and the snow industry, inspiring many people in the sport. He was passionate about helping kids and ran a camp at Mt Hotham.

While he had one of the highest profiles in the snow industry, he always had time for everyone and to help promote the sport and the industry. He was a very kind and humble person.

His list of victories are many including the two world championships, at La Molina in 2011 and Stoneham in 2013. He had spent well over a decade on the world snowboard tour.

Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin doing what he loved best, competing in snowboarding at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. ALL PHOTOS: Steve Cuff.

Tributes have been pouring onto social media as the news filters across the world of his sad passing. Fellow athletes, friends, snow industry identities and the wider community have been shocked at the news, each offering their own personal tributes and condolences to his family.

On so many occasions Chumpy would always stop and chat and always had time for interviews even when on the biggest stage in the world, the Winter Olympics.

It seemed like every time he strapped on the board, he expected himself to win, such was his self-belief. Even when you spoke to him you could sense his determination would never waiver, he was committed to giving his all in what is a cutthroat sport.

Sochi Winter Olympic Games 2014, Snowboard Cross Mens, Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin Tuesday 18th February 2014, Rosa Khutor, Russia.

Born in Mansfield, Victoria, Chumpy was given the ‘keys to the city’ in a civil ceremony in the centre of Mansfield after winning his first World Cup in 2010. Hundreds welcomed Chumpy home, including his proud grandfather Bob Pullin.

The Mansfield Courier will publish a story on July 15 for their local hero.

He was an Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) athlete and twice named the Ski and Snowboard Australia Snowsports Athlete of the Year.

 

Sochi Winter Olympic Games 2014.

A Sad Day

It was reported by several agencies that Pullin had drowned and was found unresponsive on the ocean floor by another spearfisherman. With the aid of a surfer he was pulled to the surface where a group of surfers raised the alarm as they carried Pullin from the reef.

Lifeguards with a jet ski transported Pullin to shore where they performed CPR with two off duty nurses until Queensland Ambulance Services arrived.

A Queensland Ambulance Services (QAS) spokesman said, “The patient was brought into the beach as we understand in an unconscious state with no pulse and no respiratory activity. Between the efforts of the lifeguards and the paramedics 45 minutes of CPR was performed on the patient. The patient did have water in the lungs.”

When asked by journalists about being found on the bottom of the ocean, the QAS spokesman said, “Buoyancy varies for people, understanding this person had equipment he was wearing as well, including a weight belt which he would have been using to manage his buoyancy while spearfishing. That might have been what’s kept him underwater and stopped him floating to the surface.”

Police said he was known to frequent the reef regularly as a diver and did not have oxygen and was free diving and spearfishing on the reef.

“It appears that he was diving alone, there were other divers out there, but he was not with a friend,” said a police spokesman. “He was located in that position (ocean floor), so we are not sure how long he was there. For that reason, the QAS still tried (CPR) for quite some time.”

Chumpy had a long history with the ocean being a keen surfer. On his Instagram page there were several recent posts of him spearfishing including underwater video.

On June 26 he posted a photo of himself spearfishing underwater saying, “Unreal day in the ocean! Whales singing & breaching all around us, hanging with great people, plus bringing home plenty of fish for the week.

Chumpy was a lover of life and will be sorely missed.

We have compiled a photo tribute and pass on our sincere condolences to his friends and family.

RIP Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin 1987 – 2020

Pete Forras from XTM who was a long time sponsor of Chumpy presents him with a cheque at the 2017 snow awards.

Winter Olympic Games 2018 at PyeongChang, South Korea.

Chumpy at the 2019 World Championships at Solitude, Utah, USA.

Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010.

Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010.

Sochi Winter Olympic Games 2014, Snowboard Cross Mens, Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin Tuesday 18th February 2014, Rosa Khutor, Russia.

Sochi Winter Olympic Games 2014.

Sochi Winter Olympic Games 2014.

Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010.

Chumpy enjoying the moment.

Chumpy with fellow athletes at the 2017 snow awards.

Chumpy with fellow athletes Joany Badenhorst, Sami Kennedy-Sim and Belle Brockhoff at the 2017 snow awards.

Sochi Winter Olympic Games 2014.

Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010.

Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010.

Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010.

Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010.