Sean Collins created a way for surfers to learn about where the best waves are just about anywhere in the world and in the process became a legend in the surfing community. Monday, at the age of 59, he died.
According to The Orange County Register, "his youngest son, A.J., said Collins was playing tennis at his club in Newport [Calif.] at about 2 p.m. when he died suddenly from a heart attack."
"Arguably one of the most influential surfers of his era, Collins reshaped the way surfers from across the world track swells and storms through Surfline.com, the website he founded in the 1990s. Primarily self-taught, Collins was regarded as one of the most esteemed forecasters in the industry and regularly advised the World Tour on approaching swells and weather conditions."
Thanks to Collins and his website, the Register says, "surfers who once aimlessly searched for waves ... now had information readily available to predict the best windows for waves."
Peter 'P.T.' Townend, surfing's first world champion, tells the Register that "we've all ridden more waves because of Sean Collins. It's that simple."
Surfline says it now receives nearly 1.5 million "unique" page views each month.
Collins was inducted into the Surfers Hall of Fame in 2008. His webpage there reads, in part:
"Collins was the first person to accurately forecast swells on a regular basis in the '70s and early '80s. A surfer, sailor and self-taught meteorologist, he pioneered and created the first ongoing surf forecast available to the surfing public via Surfline and 976-SURF in 1985. He developed the very first live 'Surfcam' in 1996, the precedent for the worldwide camera network available on Surfline.com today. Collins was named one of the '25 Most Influential Surfers of the Century' by Surfer magazine in the summer of 1999 and the '8th Most Powerful Surfer in the Surf Industry' by Surfer magazine in the summer of 2002."
(H/T to Deborah Franklin.)