Top angler drowns at sea

Claude Naidoo with his family.
Claude Naidoo with his family.

Family and friends of a professional angler who drowned after being hit by a freak wave on the Wild Coast on Saturday morning are still coming to terms with his untimely death.

Forty-one-year-old Claude Naidoo had caught a shark when he was swept off the rocky shore and into the rough seas near the KuHlungulwana village between Coffee Bay and Hole-in-the-Wall.

Naidoo, who resides in Springfield, was the team captain of his group and belonged to the Megalodon Sports Angling Club. He was accompanied by five members and among them was his 16-year-old son, Nishaylan.

Claude Naidoo was an avid fisherman.

Claude Naidoo was an avid fisherman.

His close friend and neighbour, Rodney Somiah, said, “We were told that Claude had caught a hammerhead shark and was reeling it in when the wave took hold of him. Fishermen near him threw lifesaving instruments into the choppy waters to help him get out but the rough seas had taken him under.”

Somiah added that Search and Rescue spent about three hours searching for Naidoo’s body. His corpse was later found one kilometre away by a group of young boys who were going for a morning swim.

His wife, Melanie, said that Claude had just set up Nishaylan on a rock to fish. “He remembers seeing his dad fish and then when he turned around to look again, he was gone. Members of the club kept him away from the area and later broke the news to him. They have been very supportive during our time of grief,” she said.

Members of the Lotus Road Nightwatch.

Claude Naidoo with friends of the Lotus Road Nightwatch.

Nishaylan is following in his father’s footsteps as he received his Natal colours in the under 16 category for the sport. The father, who was a recycling contractor, was passionate about fishing and soccer, but most of all his family. “He was a hardworking man and lived for his family. Claude always put them first. He lived life to the fullest and always kept smiling,” said Somiah.

Another close friend, Yatesh Naidoo, said that Claude’s interest went beyond fishing, he was also a community worker. He was a member of the Lotus Road Nightwatch and was the u8 coach for SMI Ashtown Club.

But to Yatesh, he was also a confidante and a true friend who made him the person he is today. “We knew each other for 10 years and he offered friendship on the highest level. Claude helped me through dark days and was a real mentor to me. He was an honest and no-nonsense kind of man. His death is a big loss to us,” he said.

Naidoo’s funeral was held on Sunday. A ceremony will be held at the David Landau Community Centre on February 13 at 5pm. Members of the community have been urged to attend.

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Camara Moodley
Sub Editor

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