A MASSIVE turnout of people from the North Coast surfing community and the wider Ballina community gathered on Shelly Beach on Saturday morning to farewell Tadashi Nakahara who was tragically killed by a Great White shark last Monday.
Around 500 people, including surf lifesavers and ambulance staff, gathered on the beach to send off a young man who was doing what he loved, but taken before his time.
President of the Ballina boardriders group Le-Ba, Don Munro thanked "the boys who brought him in" and all of the rescue service crews; from the police, SES, ambulance and surf lifesavers who had done so much to try to save Tadashi.
"It's important that we try to get closure, but I'm sure every time you go in the surf, you will remember today," Cr Wright said. The celebrant of the service, Kirsty Laing, described Tadashi as "a joyful character" and a "devoted and loving father".
He had moved from Japan 20 years ago and settled in Ballina about eight years ago. "He was a hard worker who juggled several jobs, as a chef, a cleaner and a surfboard distributor.
He was drawn to the coast, was always chasing a wave whenever he could squeeze it in, even if it meant turning up to work with wet, salty hair."
Several of his friends talked about his infectious smile and all said he would have been completely blown away by the turnout of people who had come to say goodbye.
Tadashi's parents were unable to make it out from Japan for the memorial service, but a video was being made for them along with a condolence book where people could leave their thoughts and farewells. Tadashi's body will be taken back to Japan for a private funeral.
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