I found out yesterday afternoon that Chris Brown of Santa Barbara died over the weekend, way too young, at age 48. Still not sure how it happened; he was found in the water, and may have fallen off a nearby cliff. I did a little back-and-forth with Derek Rielly yesterday about Chris, which you can read here. Then last night, when I was supposed to be writing this newsletter, I instead made a little video tribute to Chris. I only met him casually, 30 or so years ago, but he seemed like one of the sweetest, most genuine people you’d ever want to come across. Cheers to you, Chris. Surfing was a nicer and brighter place for your being part of it.
Another one gone too soon: “Eddie Aikau’s State of Grace” was last week’s History of Surfing chapter. The best part of revisiting the oft-told Aikau story was that I found some footage of Eddie that I don’t think has been seen before. The bit that’ll get up in your heart is right at the end of the clip, where Eddie is walking out of the water looking beautiful as always but also maybe just a little . . . I don’t know, goofy? Or not goofy, but just in a good mood and thinking about some silly little thing, the way we do after a good day of surf. Veneration of people like Eddie Aikau often takes away or reduces both their sense of humor and our own ability to smile at them. I smile every time I see that clip of Eddie.
Bruce Raymond is still very much among the living. Here’s a great short piece on Bruce written by Phil Jarratt (“Bruce would have made a good con man or gigolo; he’s chosen surfing”), and here’s a new video that will remind you just how talented a surfer Bruce was before he grabbed the corporate reins at Quiksilver after a couple years’ worth of so-so results on the world tour. Someday we’ll debate about who the Most Interesting Man in Surfing is, and Bruce Raymond will be in my Top Five.
Thanks for reading, everybody, and see you next week.
[Photos: Dan Merkel, Art Brewer, Hugh McLeod]