Kirk G. Cottrell, president of Deerfield Beach, Florida surf shop Island Water Sports, died on Tuesday in a surfing accident in South Africa. He was 45.
Details of the event are sketchy, but according to a spokesperson for IWS, Cottrell was surfing with friends off the coast of Cape Town and did not come up after a wave. Friends of Cottrell pulled his body to shore where paramedics administered CPR, but were unable to revive him.
Cottrell, who owned IWS, was also a pastor. In 1997 he and his family moved to Cape Town to start Calvary Chapel. He planned to live there indefinitely.
While Cottrell was living on the other side of the Atlantic, IWS employees say Cottrell was always there if anyone needed him. “We knew that if we ever had any questions, we could always get in touch with him,” says Coventry Myers, a former IWS employee and a family friend.
Skate Buyer Scott Gravatt, who’s worked at IWS for more than two years and has known Cottrell for more than ten, says Cottrell was more like a friend than a boss. Cottrell would often take employees surfing or just come in and hang out. “He wanted to make the shop profitable, and he wanted us to have a good time doing it,” Gravatt says.
Cottrell had been a well-known figure within the surf community. “In his own way he was a pioneer,” says Lost President Joel Cooper.”He was like the heart of surfing for 30 years. After being such an aggro guy in his youth, he became a father figure for many young surfers — both in Florida and in South Africa.”
Cotrell died on Tuesday afternoon and by Wednesday morning the surf industry from coast to coast had heard the news.”It’s really neat to see how quickly word spread,” says Myers, “because it shows how many lives he touched.”
Island Water Sports has set up a mini Web site where people can share their stories and post tributes. To visit it, click here.
A memorial service will be held Friday, July 27 at 1:00 p.m. at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. On Saturday, July 28 there will be a paddle out at 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. at the Deerfield Beach pavilion, just north of the Deerfield pier. Cottrell is survived by his wife Lucinda and his three kids, Cheyne, Karly, and Linsey.
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Kirk Cottrell Memorial Fund
In lieu of flowers, the Family of Kirk Cottrell is asking for donations to South African Missions outreach. Please make checks payable to Calvary Chapel: c/o Kirk Cottrell Memorial Fund /S.A Missions (outreach)
Please send to: Island Water Sports 1985 N.E. 2nd Street Deerfield Beach, Fl 33441
— The IWS Staff