Hundreds of surfers gather to pay tribute to late CROCODILE HUNTER STEVE IRWIN in the waves off eastern Australia this weekend (09-10SEP06). The crusading naturalist died last week (04SEP06) when he was pierced through the chest by a stingray's barb while shooting a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef. Irwin was a talented surfer and an estimated 300 surfers paddled out from Alexandra Headline - many dressed in Irwin's trademark khaki. Lifeguard NIGEL MORTON says, "They paddled out probably about 300 yards offshore and made a very large circle. "There were several surfers in the centre of the circle that conducted the service."