Court Overin: 1958-2001

Court Overin, one of the most well-respected and well-liked members of the surf and action-sports industry, died Sunday, November 11 from complications due to Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a terminal lung disease. He was 43 years old.

Overin, as director of ASR trade shows, was among the most visible members of the action-sports community and helped countless companies succeed in our market. He also was publisher of Surfer magazine in the early 1990s.

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“He helped me immensely in my life,” says Paul Gomez, Hurley’s marketing director. “He was like a step-father. He was the most honest guy you’ll ever meet in your whole life. He was amazing. There are very few people you come in contact with in your life who are like that. He was sincere and helpful and yet very private and liked to keep things small and intimate. He was really good at being intimate with his friends. He was never about the fanfare of it all. He was always behind the scenes trying to make everything the best for the people he worked with in our industry. To me, it’s a huge loss in my life and I think it’s a huge loss to our industry.”

“The news of Court’s death is a devastating blow to all of us who knew him and the rest of the surfing industry,” says Reef Chairman Fernando Aguerre. “Court was a very special human being — committed to the sport, full of common sense, and always a gladiator when it came to protecting our industry. I was lucky enough to share many moments of real friendship in the course of the last fourteen years.”

“I got the news from a very good mutual friend on Monday morning after flying to South America from LAX,” continues Aguerre. “I spent a couple hours full of tears, frustrated at not being able to do anything about it. At his request, I was one of the few people in the industry to be informed of his sickness and condition earlier on. I kept my lips tight, hoping for the usual recovery for a 43 year old surfer. It was not to be.”

“My heart and all my thoughts go out to his wife and very young kids in this difficult time,” says Aguerre. “I am using TransWorld SURF Business to ask the rest of the surf industry to support them in a spiritual and material way. I’m personally writing a 5,000-dollar check payable to his family to help them. I sincerely hope the industry raises to the occasion and pitches in.”

“He was a really, really good guy,” says Bob McKnight, CEO of Quiksilver. “He did a lot for Quiksilver in terms of our positioning, presence and marketing. He always looked after us, and in turn we looked after him and his company. I think it’s a really, really sad moment when a really good fellow surf-industry person goes down like that, especially since he has young kids. It’s just awful.”

“As curator to the industry’s biggest trade show, Court was nurturing to all of us who attended his show,” says Tim Wrisley, Group Publisher of TransWorld Media. “He was simply a guy you wanted to support and be with.”

“Court was one of those unique individuals who epitomized all things great about our surf industry,” says Liam Ferguson, director of Sales and Marketing at TransWorld SURF. “Court’s honor, character, integrity, and business acumen were unsurpassed in our industry. He passionately loved people, his family, and life.”

Overin is survived by his wife Michelle and three children Natasha, 7; Colton, 5; and Luke, 2. He will be greatly missed.

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Friends And Family Paddle Out In Honor Of Overin

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The more than 100 friends and family of Court Overin who gathered at T-street November 16 to honor this surf-industry leader were greeted by perfect A-frame barrels and sunny skies.

“It looks like he’s pulling strings for us already,” grinned one onlooker as yet another clean Beach House barrel fired across the sandbar.

The mood was one of solidarity and shock over Overin’s unexpected death, but also one of joy in celebrating Court’s life. Overin’s wife Michelle andhree children also attended the event, and seven-year-old Natasha rode several waves tandem with Surfer editor Sam George to the cheers of onlookers on the beach.

Then after a few words from organizer Dave Lester, the group paddled out and formed that sad-yet-comforting human ring of unity we’ve seen too many times this year.

The ring undulated through set waves as Overin’s friends recalled memories and stories. Then, when everyone was done and the circle floated in silence, the wind suddenly picked up and fog blanketed the beach.

Perfection, like life, is fleeting some times.

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If You Would Like To Make A Donation To The Overin Family Trust:
Address:
Overin Family Trust
c/o ASR Trade Expo
310 Broadway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

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Did Overin help your business or do you have any thoughts you’d like to share? Email TransWorld SURF Business and share you memories about this surf-industry leader.

Dave Lester
Quiksilver

Court was an amazing human being. He always had time for you and really cared about his friends and family. During the 80s and early 90s Court and I would meet virtually every day for a surf in Oceanside. They were very rarely planned meetings, we just always met for a surf somewhere. We shared more perfect days of surf than I can remember. Our wives became friends and we even had kids about the same time. The two of our families would go on camping trips to surf together. We celebrated our kids birthdays together.

I will also never forget the first time Court went to Tavarua. I was out surfing perfect 4- to 6-foot Restaurants and when Court and a couple of the other guys from Surfer came out, Court was like a kid in a candy store. The look of pure surf stoke on his face was insane. He loved surfing and he loved his family.

When I found out the news of his passing on Monday I was devastated. I still am. My heart goes out to Michelle and his three wonderful children. Our prayers are with Court and his family. Court was a true friend, a man who loved and cherished his family and a man that I will truly miss.

Pierce Flynn
Surfdog Entertainment

Court Overin was always a gentleman, a surfer, and a genuine ambassador for the surf and action sports industry. Court always supported the Surfrider Foundation with donations, advice, and encouragement since his days at Surfer magazine through ASR. We will all miss him and wait to see him again in the Great Surf Beyond the Sky. My deepest condolences to his family.

Guy Trotter
Oakley

I am completely beside myself with the news of Court’s passing. He has had a huge impact on my life in the surf industry. I met Court about ten years ago and was immediately helped by him. This industry will never be the same. I have always striven to be what Court was: a kind, generous, intelligent, genuinely friendly surfer. Court Overin will be greatly missed.

Terry Strumpf
Billabong

Very, very sad news. I’ve known court for many years…. I don’t have words to say. To his wife and children, my heart goes out to them. God bless them.

Paul Naude
Billabong

I’m shattered by the news. His passing comes as a tremendous shock. He was one of the key people on the trade-show side our the business, and was responsible for putting on what I view as the best show in the industry, and that’s the September ASR show in San Diego. He will be greatly missed.

Dean Quinn
Hurley International

Court was not only someone who was easy to do business with but a joy to be around and I considered him a true friend. I will miss him tremendously as will our industry. My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife and children.

Terry Rodgers
San Diego Union Tribune

One of my favorite recurring interviews each year was with Court at the Action Sports Retail Expo in San Diego. He was always very well informed on trends in the industry and could describe them in an articulate manner. He was patient and kind and exemplified the aloha spirit in an industry full of impatient, ambitious people. I am simply stunned that he is gone.

Bill Bussiere
Quiksilver

Since very early on Monday when I received the news it’s been difficult to shake the depression. Court and I are basically the same age with the same number of kids. He was someone I spoke with regularly to just talk about shit happening in the industry. I will miss these talks with my friend.

Derek Hynd
I’m shocked to hear of Court’s passing. I was completely unaware that he was in any ill health. In my time with him at Surfer he was very open and warm, someone who didn’t fit the standard bill of publishing. I remember thinking that it would be good to go catch somewaves together somewhere well away from the pack. One of the problems of the industry is in the relationships one forms on a purely linear level. It would have been great to have better known him.He was a very good man. My condolences go to his family.

Mike Schillmoeller
Rusty

Court Overin was a great man. His understanding of the marketplace was second to none. He was extremely sharp and was able to see new trends emerge. I personally met Court when I was a thirteen-year-old grom and he was a sales rep. Then when he worked at Surfer he was always up for an answer when proposed a question. He always had great information. When he took over the top spot at ASR, I knew he would do a fantastic job — and he did. His insight was uncanny. He was always up for a conversation and would help and guide me in any business endeavor I was involved. This industry has truly lost one of our innovative industry leaders.

Jimmy Olmes
Freestyle USA

I spent some great time with Court at the Surf Summit discussing the joy of parenthood and teaching his son about the ocean. Court was one of the few guys that truly understood our market and could make the necessary tough decisions when necessary. His passing is a true loss to ASR and the rest of the action sports industry.

Gary Ward
Ocean Minded

Court Overin was a great man and a friend to all that crossed his path. His love for surfing and his family poured out from his soul. Court would treat me like I was Bob McKnight or Bob Hurley , He was fair to all. He will be missed greatly by all of us from the action sports industry. Court was a man that walked with God and will always be in our prayers. We love you Court.

Kelley Smith
…lost

I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to know Court not only through business, but also on a personal level. As a close friend of a few of “Court’s Children” at ASR, I have been very lucky to have been included in several gatherings with Court and the rest of the close-knit group at ASR. I can recall countless occasions where I’ve actually forgotten that he was such a prominent figure in our industry, because he was always so much fun. If I had to find one word only to describe him, that word would be REAL, because you can’t be more real than him. My friends at ASR had a nickname for him…”Papa Bear”. I am proud to day that I felt the same way about him when he was near, he never went without extending himself to me and I will not forget him. Court, may you rest in peace and ride those clouds in the sky! My days will not go on without sending my thoughts and prayers out to his wife and children, I am so sorry for their loss. God bless them…

Alan Gibby
Dynocomm

I am still in shock! Court Overin was always one of the good guys. He was always doing his best to bring people in this industry together….that was important to him. He was ready and willing to freely donate his valuable time to SIMA because he believed in its cause. His positive attitude had a huge effect on the entire industry. Most important, he was a great hl informed on trends in the industry and could describe them in an articulate manner. He was patient and kind and exemplified the aloha spirit in an industry full of impatient, ambitious people. I am simply stunned that he is gone.

Bill Bussiere
Quiksilver

Since very early on Monday when I received the news it’s been difficult to shake the depression. Court and I are basically the same age with the same number of kids. He was someone I spoke with regularly to just talk about shit happening in the industry. I will miss these talks with my friend.

Derek Hynd
I’m shocked to hear of Court’s passing. I was completely unaware that he was in any ill health. In my time with him at Surfer he was very open and warm, someone who didn’t fit the standard bill of publishing. I remember thinking that it would be good to go catch somewaves together somewhere well away from the pack. One of the problems of the industry is in the relationships one forms on a purely linear level. It would have been great to have better known him.He was a very good man. My condolences go to his family.

Mike Schillmoeller
Rusty

Court Overin was a great man. His understanding of the marketplace was second to none. He was extremely sharp and was able to see new trends emerge. I personally met Court when I was a thirteen-year-old grom and he was a sales rep. Then when he worked at Surfer he was always up for an answer when proposed a question. He always had great information. When he took over the top spot at ASR, I knew he would do a fantastic job — and he did. His insight was uncanny. He was always up for a conversation and would help and guide me in any business endeavor I was involved. This industry has truly lost one of our innovative industry leaders.

Jimmy Olmes
Freestyle USA

I spent some great time with Court at the Surf Summit discussing the joy of parenthood and teaching his son about the ocean. Court was one of the few guys that truly understood our market and could make the necessary tough decisions when necessary. His passing is a true loss to ASR and the rest of the action sports industry.

Gary Ward
Ocean Minded

Court Overin was a great man and a friend to all that crossed his path. His love for surfing and his family poured out from his soul. Court would treat me like I was Bob McKnight or Bob Hurley , He was fair to all. He will be missed greatly by all of us from the action sports industry. Court was a man that walked with God and will always be in our prayers. We love you Court.

Kelley Smith
…lost

I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to know Court not only through business, but also on a personal level. As a close friend of a few of “Court’s Children” at ASR, I have been very lucky to have been included in several gatherings with Court and the rest of the close-knit group at ASR. I can recall countless occasions where I’ve actually forgotten that he was such a prominent figure in our industry, because he was always so much fun. If I had to find one word only to describe him, that word would be REAL, because you can’t be more real than him. My friends at ASR had a nickname for him…”Papa Bear”. I am proud to day that I felt the same way about him when he was near, he never went without extending himself to me and I will not forget him. Court, may you rest in peace and ride those clouds in the sky! My days will not go on without sending my thoughts and prayers out to his wife and children, I am so sorry for their loss. God bless them…

Alan Gibby
Dynocomm

I am still in shock! Court Overin was always one of the good guys. He was always doing his best to bring people in this industry together….that was important to him. He was ready and willing to freely donate his valuable time to SIMA because he believed in its cause. His positive attitude had a huge effect on the entire industry. Most important, he was a great human being and great friend. I will miss him, we will miss him.

Sean Collins
Surfline

Shocking. What a loss. Such a good person and friend. It’s so refreshing for us to experience people like Court. And so rare to meet someone who could blend that mix of smart business, honesty, integrity, friendship, and true caring of people. One of those guys that would do anything for you. And his handshake on a deal meant more than any contract ever would. We shared some great waves in Cabo. I’ll never forget those sessions we shared and the stoke he had surfing with just a few of his bros… My deepest condolences to his family. We’ll miss you Court.

David Cunniff
Custom X Bodyboards

I am shocked and saddened by Courts Death. I respected Court so much in this surf industry. He was an incredible catalyst within this industry and always looked to help people with their business. Court was especially accommodating to me in an effort to help build our Bodyboarding industry in anyway he could. He helped the Manufacturers Organized for Bodyboarding (MOB) He helped Surf Industry Manufactures Association (SIMA). He was always very fair and unselfish in his actions to help our industry. Court was a Surfer. One of us. I will miss him.

Chris Evans
Surfrider Foundation

Court was a lot of things. One small part was his long-standing support of the Surfrider Foundation. For years he used the reach of ASR and his love of the sport to get the Surfrider Foundation message spread far and wide. He did this consistently through times when others did not, and in times when this movement to protect what is left of our surf really needed the help. He will be fondly remembered around here. His departure leaves a hole in San Clemente, not just around surfing but also in his church community and in our town at large. Sometimes when they leave us it is clear how one person can make a difference. Court Overin did. We will be thinking of his family.

Alain Mazer
RockTurner Communications

Court inspired me to be a better person; not expressly so, but by unerring example. He never spoke a disparaging word about anyone, in confidence or in public. He was steadfastly committed to his faith, his family, and his friends. He had a penchant for turning adversity into opportunity, and he actively went out of his way to help others with their challenges — myself included. When I started my PR business those many years ago, I had a beachfront office and home: my ’87 V.W. van parked on the street at River Jetties in Newport Beach, Calif. Court was among my greatest champions from the start. He took every opportunity to call me, unsolicited, to share with me materials he got at a seminar, something he read, or to steer me toward a client or two. Thanks for the fancy car, Court. Thanks for the nice home. Thanks for the refrigerator filled with food. Thanks for helping me realize my dreams. Thanks for everything, my friend.

Cindy Lum
When I think about Court, one of the first things that comes to mind is his laughter. I can still hear it clearly, and I can picture the expressions on his face when he graced you with one of his wholehearted, belly-aching laughs. And I am blessed to have had the opportunity to share a few with him. In the years that we were at ASR together, Court was not only a co-worker, but he became a friend, a confidante, and a person whose character and convictions you could only hope to emulate. During my last year at ASR, there were a few trying times and I remember the only person I could think of talking to was Court. He was always there, whether it was to share in our successes, to poke fun at our failures, or just to trade stories and compare battle scars. It was a treat to listen to him talk about his family and their family trips, because you could feel the love and the bond, both in his voice and by the look in his eyes. It truly made you believe that there were things that were