One of the hardest parts of becoming a surfing senior citizen, or as it is more often called, a geezer, is that more and more people you know keep passing away. It gets to be a drag getting the news that somebody that you know, who more often than not is even younger than you, has moved on to the big perfect wave in the sky.
There is a custom within the surfing world that when a member of the surf community dies, all his friends throw him or her a “paddle out.” A paddle out is a surfer’s version of a funeral. Everyone paddles out beyond the persons favorite local surf break and arranges themselves in a circle.
Many times, leis or flowers are tossed into the middle of the circle. Then each person in the circle says something about the person who has died and a few prayers are said. Everyone paddles in and heads to the party, which is sort of a surfer’s version of a wake. In cases where the deceased has been cremated, it is the custom to spread the ashes in the circle as the prayers are said.
Surfer’s funerals are becoming more popular as a way to “ride the big wave” on to the other side. Dependent of the size of the party, we can also arrange a number of boats (additionally to the surf boards) so friends and families can be present on the water to honor the deceased and his/her love for the eternal ocean of life.