South Western Times
Tragedy binds surfers
Family and community devastated by loss of ‘incredibly gifted’ Jack
The WA surfing community was in shock after the sudden death of a popular young South West surfer last week.
Jack Macaulay, the brother of Margaret River Pro surfer Bronte Macaulay, died last week on the cusp of his sister facing the competition’s semifinals.
Although not surfing professionally, Jack was recognised as a top-level athlete and his death sparked tributes from Surfing WA, the World Surf League and online pundits including Stab magazine.
Older sister Laura is a former Championship Tour competitor while father Dave is a former professional surfer, ranked as high as third in the world in the late 1980s and early 90s.
The father-of-four now works as 27-year-old Bronte’s coach and board shaper, while mother Lorraine is an esteemed primary school deputy principal.
Mr Macaulay revealed the family’s tragic news on Instagram.
“Our hearts have been obliterated as our beautiful boy is gone,” he said.
Bronte somehow overcame the personal devastation at losing her younger brother to contest the final four heat on Monday, ultimately losing out on a finals berth.
The WSL tribute for the 25-year-old singled Jack out separately from his family’s achievements.
“Jack was an incredible surfer and was loved by the WA community and the surfing world,” the post said.
Stab magazine honoured Jack, describing him as an acclaimed underground surfer.
Our hearts have been obliterated as our beautiful boy is gone. Dave Macaulay
“Jack was a lovely individual and an incredibly gifted surfer who came from an iconic WA family,” staff writers said.
“Hard work, humility, and radical surfing talent are the hallmarks of the Macaulay family dynasty.”
Family friend Isaac Jones encouraged people to talk to others about the tragedy.
He described Jack as always putting a smile on the face of everyone he met.
Seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore, who also reached the finals, paid tribute to Bronte’s determination and the Macaulay clan’s loss.
“We really love you, the Macaulays, you’re the sweetest, coolest family in the world,” she said after her semifinal win.
“Bronte, it was incredible courage to show up this morning, just so strong, and we’re sending you all the love in the world so I hope you’re feeling it.”
Aiming to make her maiden WSL final, Macaulay, ranked world No.11, posted an opening 6.00 to the cheers of a big hometown crowd.
But despite her best efforts in the 2m conditions, Macaulay was only able to add a score of 3.00 as her Brazilian opponent advanced to the final.