Farrel O’Shea: Tributes as windsurfing legend dies aged 60

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Gavin Thomas,Catriona Aitken

Pete Davis/Creative Commons Farrel O'Shea with a surfboardPete Davis/Creative Commons

Farrel O’Shea died “doing what he loved” in the south of France aged 60

A “true legend” of windsurfing who died suddenly in France has been described as one of life’s good guys.

Farrel O’Shea, who was originally from Wellington, Shropshire, but moved to the Gwynedd coast in the 1980s, was a pioneer in the sport and a successful businessman.

The 60-year-old wrote an influential guide to windsurfing and founded the O’Shea surfing and windsurfing brand, which was based in Pwllheli.

He developed some technical moves in the sport and held the British speed record, at 51.2 knots – about 59mph or 95km/h.

Zara Davis, who holds world records in speed windsurfing, was with him at an event in La Palme, southern France, when he was taken ill walking up the beach on Sunday.

He had just broken another record, for the discipline of wingfoil.

“He died doing what he loved,” she said.

Ms Davis added: “Farrel was my mentor, my inspiration and my friend.

“He had a clever, dry wit and never failed to make you smile.

“He was generous to all with his time and unrivalled knowledge of speed windsurfing, a true legend of the sport.”

She said Mr O’Shea loved water sports and a cup of tea “possibly in equal measure”.

“He was deeply loved and will be missed by so many family and friends around the world.”

‘One of life’s good guys’

The O’Shea Surf company said their founder was “one of life’s good guys”.

“He was deeply loved by so many and will be forever in our hearts,” they wrote.

Social media tributes have also flooded in from water sports centres across the country.

SUP North Wales, a water sports tour company based in Gwynedd, said Mr O’Shea “was one of the most down to earth and unassuming people”.

“He’d always drop everything, put the kettle on and sit down for a chat… a very sad loss for the world of windsurfing and stand up paddle boarding,” they wrote.

Knockburn Sports Loch in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, added: “He was an absolutely fantastic, well mannered, and considerate man.

“It will always be a pleasure to see you all riding his boards which are a huge legacy to this fantastic human being.”

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