The life of legendary waterman Jack O’Neill was honoured spectacularly with a paddle out of over 240 surfers at Great Western Beach in Newquay, Cornwall.
With a worldwide series of memorial paddle outs scheduled on Sunday 9th July, Jack’s hometown of Santa Cruz, California led proceedings with simultaneous paddle outs taking place in Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, Belgium, France and the Netherlands (11AM Pacific – 7PM UK).
Surfers of North Shore Surf Club paddle out at Thurso
240 surfers paddle out at Great Western
Gathering at Great Western Beach, a popular hangout of the inaugural surfers of the 60s, those wishing to pay their respects were guided out past the breaking waves by O’Neill team athlete and 11-time European Longboard Champion Ben Skinner. As they joined hands, surfers came together in a circle sharing words of remembrance, with floating floral tributes marking the life of a surfing legend.
The impressive ring of surfboards drifting on the horizon attracted crowds of spectators who lined the headland and beach below. The moving display symbolised the life of a fellow surfer whose sheer passion changed the face of surfing forever. After paying their respects, surfers paddled back to the shore yet some remained in the water catching waves in memory of Jack.
Ben Skinner commented: “It was an absolute honour and a privilege to be part of that amazing experience. Thanks to everyone who came along and joined the paddle out this evening. It was really special and something I certainly won’t forget for a very long time.”