Gary Taylor, 1957-2003

Gary Taylor, a passionate surfer, gifted writer, and huge proponent of the surfing lifestyle, died early Saturday, September 6 — California time — of a massive heart attack while in a Singapore airport. He was 46.

Taylor was returning from the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia, where he had just finished a successful ten-day surf trip with friends.

Since almost day one of the magazine, Taylor was one of TransWorld SURF Business‘ most valued freelance writers. His vast knowledge of and zeal for surfing was only matched by his love for the written word.

Taylor was to become the new managing editor of TransWorld SURF Business this week. I think we were both excited about the new partnership — he seemed the perfect fit for the job.

When I offered him the position, he said he could only start work after his trip to the Mentawai Islands — a stipulation I readily agreed to and agreed with. It was clearly a dream trip for Gary, and it’s of some comfort to think of all the waves he got in the last two weeks.

TransWorld SURF editor Chris Cote bumped into Taylor in the Mentawais Islands. “We were surfing this wave called Burger World, and he looked great,” says Cote. “He was super happy and was ripping. He was having a great time, the swell was coming up, and he told me that we was really looking forward to coming into the office and starting work. It was clear he was having an awesome trip.”

News of Taylor’s death spread quickly through the Encinitas surf community on Saturday — as it did at the ASR trade show. Taylor, who lived a few blocks from Swami’s, was a mainstay of the Encinitas community.

“This is a total shock!” says Alan Gibby. “Gary Taylor was our Editorial Director at ExtremeSports.com for eighteen months and during that time helped us win many awards including ‘Best of the Net’ from U.S. News, Maxim and several others. He was an accomplished journalist and a true professional, always fair and objective in his reporting. He understood the importance of journalistic integrity. He was a Surfer. He loved the sport, the soul element and the competition side, and he indirectly helped build the careers of many professional surfers by bringing in plenty of industry and mainstream press coverage. The sport and the industry will miss Gary and so will all his friends.”

If you have a story about Gary that you’d like to share with the rest of the surf community, please e-mail sean@twsnet.com.