Death of Sean Collins: Inventor of Surfline Mourned
Travis Jopson, Staff Writer
February 7, 2012
Filed under Sports
The passing of Sean Collins, inventor of Surfline, a swell and tide forecasting website, has saddened surfers everywhere. But in Southern California, where his legacy was enormous, he left behind more than memories.
Students were shocked by the news of this surf legend’s death. Students among the surf team as well as free surfers, used collected data from his website to learn about swells and to accurately know when and where the waves would be for good surf anywhere up and down the coast.
“The death of Sean Collins was a huge shock to the surfing community, he will always be remembered for his contributions to the surfing world,” said senior Casey Michie.
On December 26th, 2011 Collins was playing tennis when he suffered a fatal heart attack. He was rushed to a hospital where, shortly after, he passed. He is survived by his wife, Daren, and two sons: Tyler and A.J.
By studying tides, storms, weather and wind conditions, Collins became the first person to accurately forecast swells on a regular basis in the 70’s and 80’s. He created Surfline, a surf forecast website in 1985.
Collins, who graduated from Wilson high School, in Long Beach, was auto didactic. He attended Long Beach Community College for two years, but received no formal training beyond a couple courses in meteorology.
His legacy lives on as a man who spent years sailing and surfing and eventually developed the gift of reading swell charts as well as LOLA and tides. LOLA stands for Lots of Lip Action, but has other nick names, such as, Lots of Lousy Arithmetic. The LOLA charts are forecasts that surfers use to predict swells in the water. He had made it an art to know where and when waves would be and for how long. He also predicted the weather as well as any professional metereologist.
“When I wanted to shred my sponge I always knew when the waves were good, because Surfline was there,” said senior Brian “Snake” Smith.
After years in business, Collins was put on the list of the “25 Most Influential Surfers of the Century” by Surfer Magazine in the summer of 1999, he was called the “8th Most power Surfer in the Surf Industry” by Surfer Magazine in the summer of 2002. In July 2008, sean was inducted into the Suring Hall of Fame where he forever cast his hand and foot print on the corner of the Pacific Coast Highway and Main St. in Hunington Beach.
“He changed the way that we predict waves and his legacy will always be remembered. He was one of the most powerful surfers to ever live,” said junior Jason Mos.
Support has been sent out the family and many paddle-outs have taken place in honor of a lost friend, whether it was here in California or all the way in China, thousands of people paddled to show their support.