- Snowboarder Alex Pullin was living simple life on Gold Coast with model partner
- Pullin drowned off the coast off Palm Beach on Wednesday while spear fishing
- He was pursuing his passion for music and loved surfing with his partner
- Pullin previously discussed his eight-year relationship with Ellidy Vlug, 27
Champion snowboarder Alex Pullin was living a simple life on the Gold Coast with his model girlfriend before he tragically died in a freak accident on Wednesday.
The two time World Championship and three-time Olympian was spearfishing off the coast of Palm Beach when he suffered a shallow water blackout and drowned.
His partner Ellidy Vlug was just a short distance away on the shore waiting for him to return.
Pullin, who was affectionately known as Chumpy, was still at the height of his career and pursuing his love of music, performing live gigs throughout Queensland.
He would write and perform his own original songs and explained music had been a lifelong passion.
'Music has been a big part of my life. From listening to my mum play guitar and sing when I was a kid to writing albums and playing at music festivals in Australia,' he explained on his personal blog.
'These days, I just love writing new music and playing all the instruments myself, to just challenge my skills and see what I can come up with.'
The 32-year-old started dating Ms Vlug back in 2012, when she was just 21 years old.
They'd known each other for years prior through similar social circles on Sydney's northern beaches, but it wasn't until they were at a party with a mutual friend that they first hit it off.
'We just started talking and I called her out for a dance,' Pullin explained during a 2016 interview with Buro.
'[It was] heaps old school... Dragged her out on the dance floor'. But Ms Vlug later learned he'd tried to pursue her long before that first encounter.
'Chumpy reckons he tried a few months beforehand but I didn't really know,' she said.
The couple were living on the Gold Coast along with their beloved Kelpie puppy, Rummi.
Just two weeks ago, Ms Vlug shared a sun-drenched video of Pullin and Rummi cuddling in bed, and another video this morning when the pup woke up from a nap.
She'd previously questioned in an Instagram post celebrating a friend's wedding that she was excited to walk down the aisle.
The swimwear model, who is now 27, also runs her own boutique vacation business on the Gold Coast, and 'prides herself' on supporting local businesses within her tight knit community.
The couple had withstood years of long distance when Pullin's career dragged him away from Australia.
'Everything just sort of clicked,' Pullin previously explained.
He said Ms Vlug's chilled nature and laidback qualities made the relationship easier than he thought it could be, given some of his colleagues had warned him of the difficulties associated with long distance relationships.
'We're actually quite different. It's fine. I love the simplicity of that, and not overthinking it. Today it's fine, and we'll see what tomorrow's like. Nothing ever seems too hard. It's what we want,' he said.
Ms Vlug agreed, and said it made them value their time together more.
'We can just go and do fun adventure stuff. It's probably my favourite thing about us. If you didn't have that, what would you do together?
'Alex also breaks out in song and dance all the time. He has an electric guitar and a couple of acoustic guitars which he'll just randomly rock out and start singing at the top of his lungs and dancing like crazy. It's really fun to watch.'
The 27-year-old was at the beach on Wednesday when Pullin's body was dragged to shore.
The experienced spear fisher suffered what medics believe was a shallow water blackout just before 10.30am and could not be revived.
Gold Coast Police senior sergeant Chris Tritton said another spear fisherman saw Pullin unresponsive on the ocean floor and alerted a nearby surfer to get help from lifeguards.
The surfer paddled to shore to alert lifeguards, who then came out on a jet-ski and hauled Pullin to the beach with the help of surfers.
Paramedics performed CPR on him for about 45 minutes before officially declaring him dead.
'He didn't have an oxygen mask, we understand he was free diving and spearfishing out on the reef,' sergeant Tritton said.
'It appears he was diving alone. There were other divers out there but he was not with a friend.'
Police said officers were called to the beach just before 11am and crews remain on the scene.
Just two weeks ago Pullin shared footage of himself diving and spear fishing in Gold Coast waters.
'Unreal day in the ocean, whales singing & breaching around us,' he wrote. 'Hanging with great people plus bringing plenty of fish for the week.'
The champion snowboarder created history in 2012 when he became the first Australian winter sport athlete to defend a World Championship title.
He was awarded Athlete of the Year that season by Ski and Snowboard Australia following a successful campaign on the international circuit.
By the 2017/2018 season, he was still at his peak and won double gold at the World Cup in Argentina, only to become Australia's best performing athlete yet again in 2019 when he placed ninth at the Snowboard Cross World Championships.
While he'd dreamt of competing as a snowboarder since he was just eight years old, surfing and being in the ocean was always his second passion. Pro surfer Kelly Slater has forever been one of his idols.
He began skiing at just three years old, encouraged by his parents who owned and ran a ski/snowboard shop in Mansfield, Victoria, where he was born.
Pullin spent every off season in the water, even more so after relocating to the Gold Coast with his partner.
'I was so attracted to competing from a young age. My dad and I used to race to everything,' he wrote on his personal website.
'The nearest tree or racing home on our bikes. It became second nature to test myself that way.
'Racing to me is such a pure form of competition, with no judging, its all down to who crosses the line first. An average speed of 70km/h and tops of 100km/h.
He most recently competed in a World Cup event in Sierra Nevada, Spain, before the coronavirus pandemic shut down international competition.
Australian sportsman Wendell Sailor led tributes to Pullin after word spread on Wednesday.
'I can't believe this terrible news - one of the nicest humans I've ever met - very sad news,' Sailor wrote.