Sean Collins Memorial Paddle Out in Huntington Beach
January 9, 2012

Thousands lined the rails of the Huntington Beach Pier like it was the finals of the US Open of Surfing. AAron Pai of Huntington Surf and Sport started the memorial service by listing Sean’s countless accomplishments from founding Surfline to working as a wave consultant on national security issues. Sean’s widespread influence were deeper than anyone imagined!

Everyone showed major appreciation for the gift of Surfline that Sean Collins founded in 1985. It was the first accurate wave forecasting model service that now sees 1.5 million monthly visitors. Legendary surfers Taylor Knox, Mike Parsons, and Brad Gerlach spoke of their special relationship with Collins, noting that his keen wave intuition gave them the knowledge necessary to track huge swells that earned them big wave awards. Stories of Sean’s love for his family and traveling in Baja California helped describe this passionate man who’s memory lives in every surfer’s pursuit of waves.

The paddle-out follows a traditional gathering of the surfing community, and this occasion may have been one of the biggest in history. Helicopters buzzed overhead, but the surf stayed at about waist-high and hundreds made it through the waves for the celebration of Sean’s life.

Here’s how a paddle-out works
1. Master of Ceremonies announces where the center of the circle is located in the water
2. Participants wear leis and paddle through the surf with their boards
Note: Do not use your favorite surfboard! Dinged rails are very common as the crowd joins hands
3. Form a single continuous circle around the emcee, and join hands
4. The emcee asks everyone to shout “Sean” 3 times in unison
5. The emcee asks everyone to raise their hands in the air, while still holding hands.
6. The surviving family members release the memorial flowers into the ocean
7. All attendees in the circle and on the pier also release leis and flowers into the water
8. All surfers drum on their surfboards with their hands
9. Again, The emcee asks everyone to shout “Sean” 3 times in unison
10. Everyone in the water splashes water into the air

Then, someone yells “party wave” and the ultra rare surf session ensues where no rules of the line-up are observed. A vibe free line-up is relaxing in these situations, but also presents dangers with soo many novices in the surf.

The Sean Collins memorial service reminded everyone how lucky surfers are to have as a free tool to maximize their ability to surf good waves. For those of you who’d like to show your appreciation for that gift, The Collins family has set up a fund supporting causes that Sean was passionate about.

Please make checks payable to OCCF. (Specify “The Sean Collins Surfline Charitable Fund” in the memo section.) The mailing address is as follows: Orange County Community Foundation, 4041 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 510, Newport Beach, CA 92660.