Coast surfing icon suffers major heart attack
AN afternoon cuppa quickly turned into a matter of life and death for Andrew McKinnon after the former world surfing champion suffered a massive heart attack.
McKinnon, who writes his weekly surfing column, was last Wednesday rushed to Gold Coast University Hospital after complaining of chest pains.
The 1988 world ISA longboard champion, who turns 67 on July 23, was relaxing with his wife Megan at their home before the incident.
After noticing her husband's discomfort, Megan called an ambulance, with three teams of paramedics working on McKinnon in his loungeroom before he was taken to hospital.
"He was having a pot of tea at 3pm and then experienced unpredictable chest pain," Megan said.
"Thanks to Gold Coast paramedic teams from Coolangatta and Burleigh Heads who rushed Andrew to Gold Coast University Hospital and the cath lab (cardiac catheter lab) team performed the procedure which saved his life.
"He is now recovering and no surfing for the next three months. Still a long road to full recovery."
Affectionately known as Andy Mac, the popular surfer was born in Melbourne in 1953 before moving to the Coast in 1959 and attending Broadbeach State School, The Southport School and Miami High.
He studied political science at the University of Hawaii Kauai's Community College before returning to Australia and becoming a surfing gypsy, chasing waves and work from Byron to Melbourne, Phillip Island, Sydney and back.
He filed weekly surf reports for Sea FM for 28 years until 2017, at which point he joined the Bulletin as a columnist.
Last year McKinnon became president of the Surf World Surf Museum at Currumbin, replacing Rob Ryan.
McKinnon is also chair of the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve.
His scare comes just days after the death of 1993 world champion Derek Ho, who passed away at age 55 following a major heart attack.
Originally published as Coast surfing icon suffers major heart attack