Australian surfer dies in Indonesia

Last updated 11:23 15/08/2014

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A Victorian man has died after a huge wave smashed into him while surfing at a remote Indonesian beach.

Warrnambool-born Peter Luke, 27, died while surfing five-metre waves off Jelenga Beach in West Sumbawa.

Local police say two of his friends used a boat they had hired to search for Luke after he went missing on Monday.

They eventually found his body on a nearby reef.

West Sumbawa police chief Teddy Hendyawan Syarif said the surf at the spot known as Scar Reef was huge at the time.

"The victim's death was caused by a wave smashing into him, which at that time was massive, up to five metres high," he told reporters.

Police were co-ordinating with Australian authorities to repatriate Luke's body, he said.

Two days ago his friends from across the globe began posting tributes on Facebook, describing Luke as an "absolute legend" who died doing what he loved.

Kes Mccrindle wrote he was surfing with his friend when the accident happened.

"I was with him in the line up just before I happened and he was so happy," he wrote on Facebook.

Luke's Facebook page is mostly restricted to the public, but his profile picture shows him snowboarding, flying high above the white powder.

The island of Sumbawa lies to the east of better-known islands Lombok and Bali, but its waves lure surfers who are willing to make the trek.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: "Consular officials are providing assistance to the family of an Australian man who has died in Indonesia."

Luke, a keen sportsman and a strong swimmer, had spent time in northern NSW and Queensland as well as working in the Canadian ski fields in Whistler.

Friends have described him as an adventurer in Facebook tributes.

Mitch Roberts wrote that Luke "saw and did a lot more in his short life than most people would do in a full one".

He said "the lad knew how to have a good time. Glad I got to share a lot of those times with him".

Levi Muddle wrote that his friend's bright aura and passion for life was contagious. "Will always remember the fun times we had."

- AAP, Fairfax Media

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