Popular former Warrnambool sportsman mourned

A FORMER Warrnambool man who died while surfing in Indonesia this week has been described as a kind person and talented sportsman.

Peter Luke winning the Warrnambool Bay Swim in 2004. 040208AM15

Peter Luke winning the Warrnambool Bay Swim in 2004. 040208AM15

Police said Peter Luke, 27, was surfing five-metre waves off Jelenga Beach in West Sumbawa on Tuesday when he went missing. Two friends used the boat they’d hired to search for him and eventually found his body on a nearby reef.

West Sumbawa police chief Teddy Hendyawan Syarif said the surf at the spot known as Scar Reef was huge on Tuesday.

“The victim’s death was caused by a wave smashing into him, which at that time was massive, up to five metres high,” he said.

Mr Luke grew up in Warrnambool and was a talented member of the local surf life saving club, starting as a Nipper.

He was also a founding member of the Wolves soccer club and is regarded as the first member of the city’s fledgling competitive soccer group after coming to club veteran John McMillan as a five-year-old for coaching.

After finishing secondary education at Warrnambool College he moved to New South Wales for university and in recent years lived at Byron Bay.

It is understood he had recently worked at a ski resort at Whistler in Canada.

Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club president Michael Owen and Wolves president Carlos Del Rio said they were saddened by the loss of their respected friend.

“I knew him very well,” Mr Owen told The Standard.

“He was a really strong club member who started as a talented junior and went on to a full-time summer lifeguard.

“Peter did a lot of voluntary work as a lifesaver and had a big impact on our club.

“He’ll be remembered as an approachable and happy man who also loved surfing.”

Mr Del Rio said Mr Luke was an integral part of the soccer club’s history.

“He was a fine young man and a terrific sportsperson. Whenever he returned to Warrnambool he’d drop in and was always looking for a game,” Mr Del Rio said.

“His family has been a terrific supporter of the club. Our condolences go out to his parents Allan and Mary and his sister Laura.” WITH AAP

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