WHEN Codie Rigg died in a freak skiing accident last week, doing what he loved in life, it robbed Echuca water skier Emma Binnie of the love of her life.
Worse, it meant their seven-week-old daughter Hallie would never know her father, the man who loved her more than life itself.
Codie was training with Team Stinga for this weekend’s Hawkesbury 120, on the Hawkesbury River in NSW, when he hit a log.
Leaving Emma, 22, to contemplate a future without her fiance as well as their newborn daughter Hallie without a dad.
Emma’s mother Carol said her daughter was still struggling to come to terms with what happened.
“It's really affected her because Hallie is so little and she’s very concerned about her baby’s future, their future, and how she will cope without him and raise a child without him in her life,” Carol said.
Twenty-six-year-old Codie, one of NSW’s top skiers at state and national level as well as overseas, was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“It was just a freak accident. He actually rang his crew that morning and told them he needed another run.
“He's very passionate about water skiing and it was what he loved doing.”
The superclass skier met Emma, who has been water skiing for most of her life, on a houseboat in Echuca on New Year's Eve in 2017.
Emma moved to Echuca from New Zealand with parents Carol and Doug and siblings Mark, Leanne and Rachael in 2000.
“Codie used to ski behind 99 Psycho Clowns along with a number of other boats, competing in the Southern 80 and other classic events,” Carol said.
“He was extremely talented. He has won three or four titles and has a record in New Zealand in the Bridge to Bridge.
“Emma is good in her own right too. She is a good social skier and has had a few wins in her age group. But she wasn't in the same league as Codie.
“They were quite competitive together which made their relationship stronger.
“Emma moved to Sydney to be with Codie 18 months ago and they were engaged in July last year.
“A few months later, Emma fell pregnant with Hallie.”
Codie’s sister Leanne said all he wanted was a family – and especially a girl.
“He absolutely adored Hallie,” Leanne said.
“He was a very doting dad.”
On Facebook, a heartbroken Emma wrote that Codie died doing what he loved.
“I could never make the man I love give up racing,” she said.
“Codie was born to race. The water was his home. Racing was his dream.
“I am grateful for racing and skiing. It’s how we met and how we lived and loved.”
Codie's funeral is scheduled to be held on Monday, with a small memorial planned on Sunday at the Hawkesbury 120.
“We will be doing a tribute for Codie,” Carol said.
Leanne said Codie’s legacy would live on in Hallie.
“He will always live on through his little girl and we want her to live her life to the fullest, just like her dad did and would want her to,” she said.
“Emma's going to keep the boat Codie built and Hallie will learn to ski behind it and her first race will be behind that boat.
‘‘That's her dream.’’