Ocean honours for Ironman’s ‘Pharlap’

LOSS: Friends and relatives of Dean Mercer react to the service, at Thirroul Surf Life Saving Club. Pictures: Georgia Matts

LOSS: Friends and relatives of Dean Mercer react to the service, at Thirroul Surf Life Saving Club. Pictures: Georgia Matts

Hundreds of people have turned out to farewell Ironman legend Dean Mercer at his boyhood stamping ground, Thirroul Beach. 

FOR A BROTHER: Dean Mercer's sister Kylie joins the paddle out.

FOR A BROTHER: Dean Mercer's sister Kylie joins the paddle out.

On the same sands where he became a nipper, scores of boardriders paddled out in a show of respect watched over by Mercer’s parents, Thirroul’s John and Maureen, on Saturday morning. 

Mercer died of a heart attack as he drove towards his Gold Coast home on August 28. He as 47. 

IN HONOUR: Board riders congregate off Thirroul Beach in a tribute to Dean Mercer, captured from the air.

IN HONOUR: Board riders congregate off Thirroul Beach in a tribute to Dean Mercer, captured from the air.

Leading Saturday’s memorial, Thirroul Surf Club president Jeff Brody recalled how the Mercer brothers’ athletic feats became the stuff of local legend. 

“Dean grew up in the shadow of Darren’s achievements and through this he gained mental toughness, physical fitness, and one hell of a will to win. He definitely was a human dynamo.” 

Mr Brody read a tribute on behalf of Dean’s parents, who attended after driving directly from the Gold Coast, where they have been supporting Mercer’s wife Reen and their children Brayden, Joshua, Lachlan, and Rory.

“Like everyone else who saw you, the family was in awe of your stellar achievements,” they said. 

“You were the Pharlap of Ironman racing. But your character outside of competition was equally impressive. Perhaps your greatest quality of all was loyalty ... Of all of your achievements, I think that … makes us proudest.” 

The story Ocean honours for Ironman’s ‘Pharlap’ first appeared on The Advertiser Lake Times.

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