Shark attack victim farewelled at favourite surf spot
WITH his surfboard placed atop his casket, Gold Coast shark attack victim Rob Pedretti was farewelled yesterday at one of his favourite surf spots.
Mr Pedretti, 60, was killed when he was attacked by a 3 metre great white while surfing at Kingscliff on June 7.
His mate, Frank Schlee, and another boardrider, Mark Hayes, were hailed as heroes after bravely fighting off the shark to get the badly mauled Mr Pedretti to the beach.
The webcast service was held at Victoria's Jan Juc, near Geelong where Mr Pedretti grew up before moving to the Gold Coast with his parents and sister in 1978.
Celebrant Tony Bugden said Mr Pedretti was 'a free spirit, a man who lived to surf and to feel the exhilaration of the next wave'.
"A man who loved his family very deeply and loved his friends … a genuine person who always had a smile on his face," Mr Bugden said.
Mr Pedretti was remembered as a humble, carefree tradie who loved surfing, nature, travelling, partying and the Carlton Blues AFL team, and who made friends wherever he went.
His sister, Lily Lancaster, broke down as she told how she was 'so gutted, lost … my heart ripped apart'.
Mrs Lancaster said she was 'forever grateful' to Mr Schlee and Mr Hayes for their 'selfless and heroic act' in getting her brother to shore after the attack.
"We can only imagine how confronting and terrifying that would have been," she said.
The siblings of Italian immigrants, Mrs Lancaster spoke fondly of her close relationship with her brother, sharing memories of camping trips, parties and other family gatherings.
"As far as I can remember, Rob was always cute, sweet, cheeky-natured, kind-hearted, funny and adventurous," she said.
"He had not a mean bone in his body. He always had a positive energy … a genuine and truly beautiful soul."
She recalled how her brother would be dropped off at school by their mum only to jump straight into a Kombi bound for the beach.
"Once a surfer, always a surfer," she said.
"They have a calling, a love for nature and the sea. They're a unique breed, on a totally different wavelength.
Mr Pedretti's long-time surfing friend, Tim Buckley, said his friend thankfully did not suffer in the shark attack.
"From what I gather, the shark blindsided Rob … Rob didn't even see it," he told the service.
"Straight away, within seconds, he was back on his board paddling and he lost a lot of blood very quickly. It was a very short passing for Rob. It wasn't a painful long paddle."
Songs including the theme from the classic 1970s surf movie Morning of the Earth were played at the service.
A memorial paddle-out and scattering of Mr Pedretti's ashes is expected to be held at his favourite Gold Coast surf spot, at Tugun, next month.
Originally published as Shark attack victim farewelled at favourite surf spot