Chris Davidson has died aged 45 ©Getty Images

Australian surfer Chris Davidson has died after being punched outside of a pub near Sydney.

The 45-year-old was struck in the face and fell to the ground, hitting his head against the pavement, on Saturday (September 24).

Police were called to the Sportsmans Way in South West Rocks where they found Davidson unconscious.

He was treated at the scene by ambulance paramedics before being taken to Kempsey Hospital where he died a short time later.

A 42-year-old was then arrested at his home in the New South Wales town the following day and charged with assault causing death.

He was refused bail and is due to face a court in November.

"Surfing Australia and the surfing community are mourning the loss of former WSL Championship Tour surfer Chris Davidson, who passed away at Kempsey Hospital on Saturday evening," read a Surfing Australia statement.

"Davo was an incredibly talented surfer and a true individual in our sport and community.

"Our thoughts go out to his two children, friends and family at this time."

Davidson competed in the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour in 2010 and 2011 and also beat eleven-time WSL champion Kelly Slater in two consecutive heats as a 19-year-old wildcard entrant in 1996.

He was ranked 14th in the world in the 2010 season.

"Lost another soldier yesterday," said Slater on Instagram.


"Had many a good battle with this guy."

Surfing New South Wales executive director Mark Windon also paid his respects, saying Davidson was "one of the most stylish surfers" Australia had ever produced.

"He was an absolute prodigious talent and as flamboyant as he was in the water," Windon told ABC.

"[He] was a larger-than-life character, and for his life to finish that way is really sad."

insidethegames has contacted the International Surfing Association for comment.