FITTING FAREWELL: There will be a paddle-out for Dan Davidson at 7am this Saturday at Wategos.
FITTING FAREWELL: There will be a paddle-out for Dan Davidson at 7am this Saturday at Wategos. Contributed

Farewell for surfing guardian

FRIENDS, family and the surfing community will have a chance to celebrate the life of local surfer Daniel Davidson at a paddle-out in his honour this Saturday at Wategos Beach.

Mr Davidson was a stalwart of the Byron Bay Malibu Club and Brunswick Heads Surf Life Saving Club and a much-loved and respected surf instructor with Let's Go Surfing Byron Bay for 19 years.

He passed away at the end of February aged 67 and Let's Go Surfing owner Serena Adams remembered Mr Davidson as an "ocean man” who was like her brother.

"Dan coached and mentored many young surfers at our school and later when his health deteriorated he took on a land-based role helping out with the nippers at Brunswick surf club,” she said.

"Dan took on the ocean guardian role, spreading the word about the dangers in the ocean.

"Even if he got the safetymessage to just one kid he believed his job was done.”

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Mr Davidson came to Australia from the US in 1967 having, until the time of his enlistment, lived the classic, idyllic Californian surfing odyssey.

"His talents as a surfer were absolutely amazing, he could surf Wategos for hours, catching the biggest and longest waves and never get his hair wet,” Ms Adams said.

But his life was not without sadness.

There was a long periodafter parting ways with his wife in the mid-1980s that he lost contact with his only daughter, Jessica.

In 2006, after long years of searching and some false starts, Mr Davidson reconnected with Jessica and her children.

"Daniel James Davidson, my dad, our grandpa,” Jessica wrote.

"Destiny brought us back together after too many years apart.

"We will forevertreasure our time with you and keep the memories locked in our hearts.

"We find peace in every sunrise, knowing you are shining down on us from above.

"We will miss you every day but know you are at peace now.

"Until we meet again, love always and forever Jess, Ben, Harmonee, Angel, Zeplen and Justiss.

"Don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing is gonna be all right.”

Ms Adams said Mr Davidson, who was godfather to her children, lived a full life even in his final months.

She also paid tribute to friends Annette and Colin, whose Main Arm property was Mr Davidson's home.

"They really welcomed him into their family,” she said.

"He lived on their land for many years and he is sadly missed.”

Ms Adams said she often wondered how many waves Mr Davidson had ridden during his lifetime.

"It really broke his heart that he could not surf in hisfinal years but he continued to pass on his wisdom and passion for surfing and the ocean,” shesaid.

Those wishing to attend Mr Davidson's memorial are asked to wear their gaudiest Hawaiian shirt and meet at 6am at the carpark behind the Byron council building in Mullum to ride in convoy to Wategos Beach for the 7am paddle-out to return Mr Davidson's ashes to the sea.