‘We’ll share the waves forever’: Paddle out honours Luddy
A sea of surfboards covered Coolum Beach on Saturday morning as the tight-knit community farewelled Luddy Reynolds.
Coolum Boardriders Club members were joined by Mr Reynolds' family and friends in an emotional mark of respect.
An avid surfer, the 20 year old had been a member of the club "from the moment he could stand up on a surfboard".
"What a beautiful paddle out for Luddy," a post on the club's Facebook page read.
"Coolum Beach is a special place when our surfing community comes together to show so much love for Luddy and the Reynolds family.
"We will miss you Luddy, but we'll share the waves with you forever."
Coolum Beach local Rhonda Reinwald posted to Facebook saying it was "so emotional" to see everyone gather for Mr Reynolds.
"I could imagine him being so amazed at the love there today," she posted.
Mr Reynolds died after slipping and falling into the Mary River near Gympie during a midnight swim on New Year's Eve.
His friends lost sight of him, sparking a 12 hour search of the river near Dobson and Traveston Crossing roads by police and State Emergency Service crews.
His body was found by police divers about 80m from where he was last seen, with family and friends assembled at the campsite during the search left heartbroken by the news.
More than $20,000 was raised by the community to support Mr Reynolds' family with funeral costs, and a service was held on Thursday to farewell him.
The Gregson and Weight chapel at Noosaville was full of loved ones and his mother Anna joined a livestream of the service from Papua New Guinea.
She had been unable to attend due to COVID-19 restrictions.
A photo tribute was played accompanied by songs written by his father Chris Reynolds.
Heartbroken, he told friends of how his life changed when Mr Reynolds and his brother Justin came to live with him.
"Luddy loved his brothers, his family, his family in PNG - he was the perfect child in every way," he said.