Ellidy Pullin recalls moment she ‘knew’ Olympic snowboarder husband Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin was dead

The widow of champion snowboarder Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin has recalled the moment she ‘knew’ he had died in a spearfishing accident in a new memoir.

Ellidy Pullin said she was coming home from walking the couple’s dog, Rummi, in the park on July 8, 2020 when she felt a sharp, stabbing pain in her chest.

Her husband was spearfishing at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast at the time when Ellidy said she experienced the sudden chest pain.

‘The sharpness stopped me in my tracks, knocking the wind out of me and almost forcing me to my knees,’ she wrote in her forthcoming memoir, Heartstrong.

‘I clenched my heart and Rummi looked up at me as if to say, ‘What the hell, Mum! Are you okay?’

‘After 30 seconds, I was. I brushed the pain off as anxiety – maybe I needed more sleep, or some vitamins or a massage – and kept walking.

‘Looking back, I think that was the moment Chumpy left this earth – the moment my heart shattered.’

Ellidy Pullin (left), the wife of Olympic champion snowboarder Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin (right), has recalled in a new memoir walking home from a park with her dog, Rummi, when she felt a sharp, stabbing pain in her chest - the moment she believes her husband died in a spearfishing accident

Ellidy Pullin (left), the wife of Olympic champion snowboarder Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin (right), has recalled in a new memoir walking home from a park with her dog, Rummi, when she felt a sharp, stabbing pain in her chest – the moment she believes her husband died in a spearfishing accident

'Looking back, I think that was the moment Chumpy left this earth – the moment my heart shattered,' Ellidy said of the sudden chest pains she experienced as her boyfriend was spearfishing off Palm Beach on the Gold Coast

‘Looking back, I think that was the moment Chumpy left this earth – the moment my heart shattered,’ Ellidy said of the sudden chest pains she experienced as her boyfriend was spearfishing off Palm Beach on the Gold Coast

Ellidy Pullin said she will 'never forget' the look on a police officer's face at the beach on the day he died when she confirmed to him the type of tattoo Chumpy Pullin had on his torso

Ellidy Pullin said she will ‘never forget’ the look on a police officer’s face at the beach on the day he died when she confirmed to him the type of tattoo Chumpy Pullin had on his torso

Pullin, 32, drowned that day. It’s believed he was spearfishing by himself at an artificial reef at the beach when he was spotted on the ocean floor by a snorkeler.

He was a two-time boardercross world champion and represented Australia at three Winter Olympics.

The excerpt was published in the Courier-Mail’s Q Weekend magazine.

In January this year Ellidy recalled the moment she found out about the accident to the Australian Women’s Weekly after a neighbor told her about ‘an incident down at the beach’.

‘Initially, I felt a bit of a shiver but I thought, ‘It’s not Chumpy, it can’t be Chumpy’,’ Ellidy remembered.

‘Then I went, ‘No, I need to go down there.’ I just didn’t have a good feeling about it.’

She recalled arriving at the beach and telling a policeman that her partner was out diving.

She then confirmed to the police that Pullin had a large ax inked on his ribs when they asked if her partner had a distinctive tattoo.

Ellidy said she will ‘never forget’ the look on the police officer’s face in response.

‘The feeling was my heart shattering before my brain even knew. He obviously held his breath for a second too long and blacked out… He lost consciousness peacefully.’

In October 2021, 15 months after Alex's passing, Ellidy gave birth to their first child, Minnie Alex, conceived with sperm posthumously taken from the former Olympian

In October 2021, 15 months after Alex’s passing, Ellidy gave birth to their first child, Minnie Alex, conceived with sperm posthumously taken from the former Olympian

In her memoir Heartstrong, Ellidy recalls meeting Pullin at a 21st birthday party on Sydney's northern beaches where the future Olympic star arrived wearing a denim jumpsuit that made him look 'like a full-on mechanic, but hot'

In her memoir Heartstrong, Ellidy recalls meeting Pullin at a 21st birthday party on Sydney’s northern beaches where the future Olympic star arrived wearing a denim jumpsuit that made him look ‘like a full-on mechanic, but hot’

In October last year – 15 months after Alex’s passing – Ellidy gave birth to their first child, Minnie Alex, conceived with sperm posthumously taken from the former Olympian.

Ellidy said she had to ‘hustle’ to collect sperm from Pullin’s body following his death.

I didn’t want Chump to just die and be gone. I felt this was bringing a part of him back,’ she told AWW.

We’d wanted a baby, and I couldn’t think of anything I wanted more right then than a person I could love and cherish.

‘Now that she’s here, I just know that it was meant to be. I see and feel so much of Chump in her. I know I’ve done the right thing so wholeheartedly.’

‘Having Minnie is a constant reminder of her beautiful father in the best and most bittersweet way,’ Ellidy told News Corp Australia.

‘Life is so fragile, I do have my days but mostly I’m so motivated to live a full life and be the best parent I can be… if not with Chump, then for him.’

In August she shared footage of herself and her then 10-month-old daughter dancing next to the stage as her close friend and Minnie’s godfather, Australian musician DJ Paul Fisher, performed at a huge party in Spain.

In the memoir she recalls meeting Pullin at a 21st birthday party on Sydney’s northern beaches where the future Olympic star arrived wearing a denim jumpsuit that made him look ‘like a full-on mechanic, but hot’.

'He didn't struggle or fight for air or choke with panic;  he simply closed his eyes and didn't open them again,' Ellidy said, of the way she likes to think Chumpy Pullin left this life

‘He didn’t struggle or fight for air or choke with panic; he simply closed his eyes and didn’t open them again,’ Ellidy said, of the way she likes to think Chumpy Pullin left this life

The spark between the pair was instant. In 2017, they moved to the Gold Coast and bought a house in Palm Beach.

On the day he died, Ellidy reveals, Chumpy had planned to go surfing but instead decided to pursue his new obsession, spearfishing.

She said she would warn him to watch out for sharks, but the snowboarding champion told her the real danger was shallow water blackouts, when a diver blacks out at the end of a breath-hold dive.

Ellidy writes that she did not fear for her partner because he was a professional athlete who she knew could hold his breath for a long time.

They shared a final hug as he backed out of the garage to head to the beach that morning.

Ellidy writes that she would warn Chumpy to watch out for sharks while he was doing his new obsession of spearfishing but that the snowboarding champion told her the real danger was shallow water blackouts, when a diver blacks out at the end of a breath-hold dive

Ellidy writes that she would warn Chumpy to watch out for sharks while he was doing his new obsession of spearfishing but that the snowboarding champion told her the real danger was shallow water blackouts, when a diver blacks out at the end of a breath-hold dive

'Having Minnie is a constant reminder of her beautiful dad in the best and most bittersweet way,' Ellidy said of her daughter

‘Having Minnie is a constant reminder of her beautiful dad in the best and most bittersweet way,’ Ellidy said of her daughter

In August she shared footage of herself and her then 10-month-old daughter dancing next to the stage as her close friend and Minnie's godfather, Australian musician DJ Paul Fisher, performed at a huge party in Spain

In August she shared footage of herself and her then 10-month-old daughter dancing next to the stage as her close friend and Minnie’s godfather, Australian musician DJ Paul Fisher, performed at a huge party in Spain

After she saw the policeman’s response at the beach, she said she remembers thinking ‘This is bulls***’ because the couple had a busy day planned and his disappearance was inconvenient.

But when what had happened dawned on her, she fell to the floor of the surf club, crying and shaking. Her mother and brother went to see the champion’s body after it was pulled from the sea.

‘Mum told me later – much later – that they’d both said goodbye to Chumpy in the back of the ambulance,’ Ellidy said.

‘Mum hugged him and kissed him and told him how much we all loved him.’

While Pullin’s death certificate lists his cause of death as drowning, his wife writes that she prefers to think of him simply going to sleep under the water.

‘He didn’t struggle or fight for air or choke with panic; he simply closed his eyes and didn’t open them again.’

‘I’m still finding it quite surreal that Chump has been gone for two years now,’ she told The Daily Telegraph in July.

‘I truly don’t know if I’ll ever quite understand how he was here one minute and gone the next.’

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