Shark attack victim farewelled in emotional paddle-out

This is a tough read…

VIA – WA NEWS

Photo:Surfers remember Kyle in an emotional paddle-out at Bunker Bay. Photo: Tim Carrier, Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.

Shark victim farewelled in emotional paddle-out

Michelle Nelson and Lucy Rickard
September 8, 2011 – 12:20PM

About 40 surfers have this morning taken part into an emotional paddle-out into the surf break at The Boneyards in Bunker Bay, where 21-year-old bodyboarder Kyle Burden was fatally mauled by a shark on Sunday.

More than 100 of Mr Burden’s friends, family and co-surfers attended this morning’s memorial service – among them his mother Sharon, uncle Derek, grandmother Peggy and girfriend Jess Mooney.

Ms Mooney, who was overseas at the time of Mr Burden’s death and only returned to Australia yesterday, read from a letter her boyfriend had recently sent her.

Sharon Burden again thanked Kyle’s friends and the South-West community for their support and police chaplain Keith Carmody reflected on the poignance of the occasion.

“It’s a good time for people to cry but also a good time for people to laugh and share memories (of Kyle),” Reverend Carmody said.

The paddle-out, in which about 50 surfers and bodyboarders formed a circle and linked hands, was a reminder of both the tremendous sadness around Mr Burden’s death and also the constant presence of the ocean’s inhabitants.

While the paddle-out took place, a pod of whales made its way through Bunker Bay. A police launch and a sea rescue craft also kept watch, following the sighting of a great white shark at Gracetown – 50km south of Bunker Bay – on Monday afternoon.

It is believed a great white was responsible for the fatal attack on Mr Burden, just before 1.30pm on Sunday.

This morning’s memorial service was also attended by the police and emergency services officers who treated Mr Burden after the horrific attack.

On Monday, friends of Mr Burden set up a shrine on the beach where he was killed, signing a surfboard and adorning it with photos of the young victim. The shrine became a centre-point for the memorial service.

Sharon Burden had arrived in WA from the Gold Coast late on Monday, supported by her mother and brother.

On Tuesday morning she watched the sun rise over the waves where her son died before making a heart-wrenching statement to a large media contingent.

She wept as she described her only son as a “unique and wonderful person who showed a passion for life”.

“Kyle loved the environment, he loved the ocean and all the creatures that go with it,” she said.

“There is no real explanation for the randomness of mother nature and there is no blame.

“He has always been respectful of the risks of his adventures and activities and he wanted to make the most of every day and we all admired him so much for that passion.

“We will miss Kyle every day, and we will love and cherish him for eternity.

“To Kyle’s wonderful friends here in the Margaret River region, I think the fact that he came here for a holiday and ended up choosing this to be his home tells us how much you were loved by him and how much your friendships meant to him.

“He enjoyed living in this region for the lifestyle and his love of surfing.

“To Kyle’s family and friends in Sydney, your kind words and support have been overwhelming and it’s so comforting to know that Kyle has touched so many people’s lives in such a positive way.

“Our hearts are all breaking together.”

Mrs Burden spent much of Tuesday at Bunker Bay beach where her son died, before visiting Kyle’s housemates and friends in Margaret River.

She said she wanted to honour her son with his friends in the place that he chose for to be his home, asking that they decide on a memorial service that would best fit Kyle.

For the full story go here:

http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/shark-victim-farewelled-in-emotional-paddleout-20110908-1jytm.html

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