For those of you who haven't heard, a windsurfer passed away in the Columbia River Gorge last weekend while Stand Up Paddling on a light wind day. The details of how it happened are unclear. He was missing for several days after his board was recovered and finally his body was found early yesterday morning.
This has definitely weighed heavily on me, I knew Paul. Paul was a Crissy Field regular and was the local rep for North Wave sails. He was very well known and well-liked among the crowd and he always had time to chat and joke around. Being the new guy at Crissy this year was a little intimidating at first for me, but Paul went out of his way to make me feel welcome. He remembered my name the first time we met and would always make a point to say hello and give me a hard time about my sail choice. (4.2? Are you nuts??)
Even in the short time I knew Paul, he had a positive effect on my life and on my windsurfing. At the end of the day, that's what life is all about right? Even in our imperfection, we should ask ourselves "Am I having a positive or negative effect on the people around me?" Paul unequivocally brought good times, a smiling face, and constant stoke to the windsurfers around him. His life may have been unfortunately cut short, but I know in my heart that he, like all windsurfers, truly lived.
The picture below is of a gathering that was held at Crissy for Paul. I know that he would feel so happy if he could have seen all the people who showed up in his honor. All of them were undoubtedly better off having known him.