Noosa Surf Life Saving legend Alan Coates died this morning doing what he loves. FILE IMAGE
Noosa Surf Life Saving legend Alan Coates died this morning doing what he loves. FILE IMAGE John McCutcheon/N9933h

Tributes flow for Noosa surf life saving legend Alan Coates

AUSTRALIAN Surf Life Saving icon Alan Coates has died of a massive heart attack while on an early morning training paddle with fellow Noosa SLSC members this morning.

  The 69-year-old, who only finally quit competition last year, was doing what he loved paddling near his favourite spot, Noosa's First Point when he fell forward off his board into the water.

   His training partners tried desperately to revive him, for a short time re-establishing a feint pulse, but he was dead by the time they brought his body to the beach.

   Mr Coates, who placed fifth in the inaugural Australian iron man event behind Hayden Kenny, Barry Rodgers and Terry McLardy, went on to compete in surf life saving competition for more than 50 years.

He also established a reputation as one of Australia's premier water men. In 1986 he paddled a surf ski from the Sydney Opera House to Noosa Heads in just 112 hours and 31 minutes actual paddling time.

  Mr Coates repeated the effort in 2004 doing the distance in repeated sets of the iron man discipline and quietly raising money to help Jana Clancy, a young club member with disabilities, to travel to a world championship event.

  The man known as Mozzie throughout his competitive career, was Noosa lifeguard in 1978 after moving to the Sunshine Coast in the mid 1970s and joining the Noosa SLSC fcrom Maroubra.

Former Noosa president Ron Lame said it was a sad day for the club.

   Even after a triple bypass in 2000, which fortuitously occurred at Noosa Aquatic Centre which had a defibrillator, he was still able to match it with younger club iron man competitors when well into his 60s.

  Mr Coates ran the beach hire business beside the surf club for many years before shifting the operation to the Main Beach groynes where it still operates under the direction of his step son Malakai.

Surf Life Saving Queensland saddened by death

Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) issued a statement today saying it was saddened by the loss today of ironman legend, Alan Coates.

SLSQ CEO John Brennan said Alan Coates was an iconic character in the surf lifesaving movement and has cemented himself as one of the greats in endurance ironman.

"Alan has competed as an ironman and coached many in the Coolangatta Gold events, such as Guy Leech and Michael King who have also gone onto become ironman legends themselves," Mr Brennan said.

"In more recent times, Alan was competing in Coolangatta Gold again in the Masters division, crossing both eras of the sport.

"Alan was out with his friends training this morning in the ocean and died doing something he loved, he will be missed.

"Our condolences go out to his family, friends and club - Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club."

Alan Coates' passing mourned by Sunshine Coast Facebook fans

Brian Fox:  I was there when the girls with him screamed for help a hundred or so metres off Little Cove.

As I was on my way out to help 2 members of the Noosa Heads surf live saving club were paddling back to the club and went to help.

They were very professional in the way they conducted CPR trying their hardest to revive him.

It was obvious that they knew what they were doing and if Alan could have been revived then they would have done it.

Their efforts need to be recognised along with the paramedics that attended. It was a real team effort trying to save one of their own. It is just so sad that it ended the way it did.

Gail Marie Bentley:  Great man, died doing what he loved..he will be missed 

Colleen Downes: Sincere condolences to family and friends

Jeff Gatenby: So sad to hear, my thoughts are with your family and friends. Alan was a terrific bloke / competitor and will be missed by many people.

Lisa Smith: My husband Rob and also Phoebe another master that Alan was training with paddled him in before commencing CPR on the beach. Rob says the help from the public should also be recognized as they had many jumping in the water to help as they got closer to shore. Also another 'Rob' a doctor on holidays from Sydney's RPA hospital was a great help during the 40 minutes of CPR that was applied. Many thanks to the Ambo's that attended as well. Rob said "Alan was training us to compete in the coming Aussies to the last breath he took" he died doing what he loved in the town he loved in the sport he loved. A great man that will be sorely missed. Vale Alan, The Neely Family.

Abbey Mitchell: The hard man with the softest heart. I'm comforted to know Al died doing what he loved on a beautiful day in a beautiful place. Looking forward to the opportunity to celebrate Al's life and share and hear more Coatesey stories of when the date is set for a send off.

Please leave your tributes to Alan in the comments below or email to

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