THE Far South Coast community on Saturday said farewell to local longboard legend and restaurateur Ian Hockey.
The ocean was calm, with a small swell, there was a gentle breeze and not a cloud in the sky as board riders headed to the water at One Tree Point, Tuross Head to farewell the man that had bought joy and happiness to the lives of many.
About 120 board riders paddled out to watch Ian Hockey’s children, Sarah, Joshua and Aaron scatter their father’s ashes over the water at one of Ian’s favourite surfing spots.
Hundreds of people also lined the headland to watch the paddle-out in celebration of Ian’s life.
Ian passed away after a short battle with cancer on Monday, September 23 in Lanuza, Phillipines surrounded by his family and friends.
His children brought his ashes back to Australia so they could be scattered in the ocean of his home.
After his ashes had been spread, two pods of humpback whales swam around headland and frolicked in the sea as if to honour Ian and his love of the ocean.
Afterwards several hundred people returned to Tuross Head Country Club where the Hockey family had organised a comprehensive slide show and video show of Ian’s life along with some of his surfing memorabilia.
After a spit barbecue luncheon prepared by the Hockey family, people were invited to share their stories of Ian.
Among the speakers were master of ceremonies and good friend of Ian’s, Kirk Willcox media director for Surf Aid, former editor of Trax magazine and Ian’s friend for more than 30 years.
Former editor of Surfing World magazine and former publisher of Australian Longboarder magazine, Bruce Channon spoke of the first time he met Ian Hockey and the smell of the rum flavoured tobacco that Ian smoked.
“I’ve always had delusions of grandeur so when Ian told me that he was a restaurateur on the south coast and that he had a photo of me in his walls, I imagined all sorts of things like a big picture over the fire place all lit up,” Bruce said.
“Then he told me it was on the back of the men’s toilet door,” he said.
They had been good friends ever since.
Ian’s children Joshua, Sarah and Aaron also spoke fondly of their father and what an amazing man that he was.
They recanted tales of growing up with their father and how wonderful their lives had been because of him. They said that they were overwhelmed with the amount of people that came to celebrate Ian’s life and thanked everyone for being there.
“The best thing he did, was finding our mother (Annette) and having us,” daughter Sarah said.
“Our father taught us how to surf and we loved sharing the water with him and surfing with him throughout our lives, he was an inspiration,” she said.
Josh went on to thank everyone on behalf of the family and his mother Annette for all their help, love and support that they had given the family during their loss.
Ian’s brother Graeme spoke of their life growing up saying that he was seven years older than Ian and like most brothers, he thought Ian was annoying.
Graeme said that he spent three weeks with Ian before he passed away and that was the most time the brothers had spent together throughout most of their adult life. After they parted they kept in contact daily through Skype.
Ian’s long-time friend local musician and artist Pete Markham, spoke of Ian’s love of telling jokes then proceeded to pull everyone’s leg with a yarn purportedly about Ian that had everyone laughing.
There were more messages of condolences read from friends that couldn’t be there with MC Kirk Willcox winding up the speeches by saying, the world is a sadder one without Ian but it was a bigger and brighter one because of him.
He said that Ian used to say… “Everything will be OK in the end, and if it’s not OK, then it’s not the end.”