Massive Paddle Out Honors Surfline Founder Sean Collins

The wave forecasting pioneer is remembered as one of surfing's most influential figures.

Thousands gathered and hundreds paddled through the surf Sunday morning to honor the man who combined science and soul in pursuit of the perfect wave. Surfline founder and Seal Beach resident Sean Collins was honored in Huntington Beach with a massive paddle out, reflecting just how big his contributions to the world of surfing was.

Collins revolutionized surf forecasting and spent his life sharing his knowledge with those who shared his passion for surfing. He passed away last month from a heart attack while playing tennis with his son in Newport Beach.

The 59-year-old Hall of Fame surfer's death sent shockwaves through the worldwide surf community and in Seal Beach and Huntington Beach, where he sponsored surf contests such as the U.S. Open and helped revive the dormant Seal Beach Surfing Championship.

Surfers everywhere turned to his forecasts to find the next big swell, and Collins’ Surfline was the first to install beach webcams around the world to provide real-time images of surf conditions. Collins was named one of the "25 Most Influential Surfers of the Century" and the "8th Most Powerful Surfer in the Surf Industry" by Surfer Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times' West Magazine named him among the Top 100 People who wield the most power and influence in Southern California.

In 2008, he was inducted into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame, and his handprints and footprints can be found in the stone next to the Duke statue in Huntington Beach on Pacific Coast Highway.

Sunday’s paddle out celebrated his life as a family man, hall of fame surfer, adventurer and Surfline founder.

Collins is survived by his wife, Daren, and two sons, Tyler and AJ.

Karen Ferretti January 09, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Thanks Walt for posting these pictures. We wanted to get down there but it just didn't work out. Wow - so many folks honoring Sean. I'm glad for Darren, AJ and Tyler. My brother participated in the paddle out - what a huge event. Warms my heart to see so many folks gathering outside at the beach - and what lovely weather. Could not have been more fitting.
Seth Eaker January 09, 2012 at 01:33 AM
A truly remarkable testament by the surf community for a leader, advocate, scientist and trendsetter. He helped transform the industry in a way few business people do. May his impact continue to be felt for decades. As a non-surfer, I admired him for his industry innovation. Truly remarkable.


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