Farewell David Scheen

Sunday, 09 November 2008 02:53 | Written by 
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[Editor: Six weeks ago, David Scheen disappeared during a paddle near his home town Peterborough in Victoria, Australia.  Some of his gear, along with his smashed ski, was found the next day.  Here's a follow up report from The Standard online.]


In memory of my lovely guy: Partner tells of disbelief over missing paddler

MISSING Peterborough man David Scheen will be given two public farewells, six weeks after he disappeared near Childers Cove.

The 39-year-old sportsman was last seen paddling his surf ski into the ocean at Murnanes Bay east of Warrnambool on October 13.

His wrecked craft, lifejacket, hat and mobile phone were found nearby, but extensive air and ground searches by police and SES crews failed to locate his body.

His partner, Margaret Hamilton, told The Standard yesterday she still held faint hopes he would be found.

"It's hard to come to grips with. Everyone, his family, friends and the local community, is still in disbelief," she said.
"He was such a lovely guy."

A low-key public tribute ceremony will be held on Friday, November 21, at 3pm at the Peterborough foreshore car park overlooking the Curdies River mouth.

It is where he was due to arrive after paddling 20 kilometres from Murnanes Bay on October 13.

"There will be a few speeches and some of his favourite music will be played by his surfer friends," Ms Hamilton said.

"It will be a tribute to David remembering all the things he had been involved in. Afterwards we will have afternoon tea at the golf club with pictures of his life and film of him surfing."

The following day the surfing community will give him a Hawaiian-style farewell in Port Campbell Bay at 10am.

It was in that town he first got his taste of south-west-coast surfing in the 1990s.

"When he first saw the big waves there he said 'I've got to surf those' and made the move to Port Campbell," Ms Hamilton said.

Mr Scheen was born and educated in Geelong and developed a love for water sports as a toddler.

He became a keen sailor, swimmer, triathlete, cyclist, adventurer and motorcycle racer. He surfed some of the most dangerous waves in the world and competed against some of the world's best endurance athletes.

In his late teens he moved from Geelong to the Gold Coast area chasing surf and working as a kitchen hand.

Returning to Victoria, he worked as a glazier in Geelong and Melbourne for a number of years before he discovered Port Campbell's surf.

A second serious motorcycle racing accident ended an ambition to take up dairy farming.

"He took on paddling because was unable to stand up on a surfboard any more with his injuries," Ms Hamilton said.

During his recovery they decided to buy the Peterborough store and turn it into a cafe-general store.

"We needed a change and it allowed us to have more free time. We were happy together. I used to watch him surfing the big waves.

"Two Mile Bay near Port Campbell was one of his favourite spots. He loved the challenge of the big surf, going out even when others held back."

Despite his fearless pursuit of huge surf he still had a respect for the ocean's unpredictability, she said.

"He always checked the conditions first before venturing out on his surf ski.

"On the day he went missing he checked the waves before going to Murnanes Bay with a friend who drove his car back to Peterborough car park.

"When he hadn't returned by about 3pm I became a little alarmed and by 4pm sent a friend to look along the coast. By 5pm we knew something was wrong and rang police.

"I ask myself why didn't we call police earlier. But he had been late before on his outings. He always turned up."

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