The Ulladulla surfing community has been rocked by the death of former Boardriders Club president Mark Galton on a jobsite near Narrabri on Wednesday.
Authorities are investigating the tragic death of Mr Galton in a workplace accident at a coal mine in Boggabri.
Working as a contractor on the site, he was in the cabin of a cherry picker about 15 metres off the ground when he was crushed by an overhead metal structure about 8.50am.
Mr Galton sustained severe head and neck injuries and was kept alive by colleagues until paramedics arrived at the scene.
Aged in his early 50s, he went into cardiac arrest and could not be revived.
Police established a crime scene and NSW Trade and Investment’s mine and safety investigation team are investigating the incident.
Mr Galton was working on Thiess-Sedgman’s joint project to construct a $180 million coal handling and preparation plant on behalf of Boggabri Coal.
Ulladulla Boardriders Club president Kurt Nyholm said the tragedy had devastated surfers and club members.
"Mark was president of the club from 2004 - he took over on the club's 30th anniversary when the club was pretty much in decline and injected a new energy into it," he said.
"His death with leave a huge hole, because his enthusiasm was incredible and he was such a big supporter of all the members.
"The kids loved him."
Kurt said Mr Galton was an "extremely loyal member" who had a habit of attending state and national competitions and banging a pot with a stick while spruking the Ulladulla Boardriders members.
"Mark was on the committee for the club's 40th reunion and he was really looking forward to it."
A keen surfer and stand-up paddleboarder, Mr Galton and his wife had been operating Burrill Lake SUP for the past two years since he closed down his popular hot glass studio, also at Burrill Lake.
He travelled away regularly for work and also worked in the snow over winter.
Mark was an avid supporter of keeping the Burrill Lake channel open and was also a big fan of the Rabbitohs rugby league team.
Kurt said he would be greatly missed by many members of the community.
"On behalf of all the boardriders members and friends, I send my deepest condolences to Mark's wife Dominica and his daughter, his family and friends," he added.
In a media statement, his employers said, “Thiess and Sedgman extend their deepest sympathies to the employee’s family and full support is being extended to them.”
Idemitsu Australia Resources released a statement on Wednesday afternoon announcing all mining would cease at the site until further notice.
“Idemitsu Australia Resources is co-operating fully with NSW Police and workplace authorities as they investigate the incident,” a spokesperson said.
“Our main priority is the family and workmates of the person involved and we will work closely with our construction contractor to provide the appropriate support and assistance at this time.”
NSW Resources and Energy Minister Anthony Roberts also expressed his sadness at the tragedy and promised “a full and detailed report will be prepared for the coroner”.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and community affected by this tragic accident,” he said.
All workers at the coalmine are understood to have been offered trauma counselling.