Woonona musician and surfer Jae Haydon has been killed in a surfing accident in Bali.
Mr Haydon, 34, was feared drowned after a board identical to his was found broken and washed ashore.
The board, bearing the brand of Thirroul-based boardmaker Dylan Perese, washed up near Uluwatu on Monday, prompting a social media appeal for the missing surfer.
“Attention Bali surfers,” one online post read. “Does anyone know whose board this is?? Very sad situation at Uluwatu. He drowned surfing the bombie and has not been found. Trying to identify him.”
The board bore handwritten measurements and the words “for Jae”.
Mr Haydon’s sister, Heidi Haydon, commented on the post yesterday – “it’s my brother’s board”, but later said her family hadn’t been formally notified of his death, and was awaiting consular advice.
A short time ago, Ms Haydon confirmed the tragedy.
“To our free spirit Jae, who roamed the world and lived the life we all dreamed of, who brought incredible joy to loads of people in this world, lost his life in Uluwatu, Bali today,” she wrote.
“We love you Jae with all our hearts and will miss you terribly every day and know you’ll spend your time swingin’ life away.
“We cannot thank the efforts his beautiful friends went to to keep me in the loop, travel around Bali on the search and just keep the hope alive. You’ve shown us just how loved he was (even though we already knew). All our love Mum and Heidz xoxo”.
A fundraiser has been launched on Gofundme to cover the costs of bringing Mr Haydon home, and his funeral.
Unconfirmed reports indicate his body washed ashore at Pedang Pedang about 6.30pm after he got into trouble in big surf and couldn’t be pulled to safety.
Dylan Perese paid tribute to Mr Haydon a short time ago.
“Yesterday was a very tragic day not only for our local community but for the surfing community as a whole,” he wrote, posting pictures of Mr Haydon surfing the same Balinese surf sport last year.
“@jaehaydon was surfing solid Uluwatu when he had a terrible accident finding himself unconscious and after failed attempts by a few fellow surfers to get him up on a board he was eventually lost in solid 6-8ft waves beneath the uluwatu cliffs.
“Jae was one of the nicest most well liked and not to mention talented young guys around! He would always light the room, stage, yard whatever venue with his warmth and incredible tunes that he was so good at and so well known for!”
Mr Haydon, formerly of local punk band Lost in Line, went on to become a well-known solo acoustic artist, playing at many Illawarra and Sydney venues.
In 2015 he recorded a cover song each day for 30 days as part of a fundraiser, Sing for Spinal Cord Injury, aimed at raising $10,000 for the spinal cord rehabilitation centre Sargood. It was a cause close to his heart after his sister, Heidi, was left paralysed from the chest down after a drug-affected driver ran her motorbike off the road in 2009.
“Seeing the way she deals with it is inspiring alone … it puts everything into perspective with our own lives,” Mr Haydon told the Mercury at the time.
“I feel it’s a way to give back. Even though it’s not doing much, I think some people appreciate it.”
The Haydon family has requested privacy.