We are saddened to report that Surfline.com Founder and President Sean Collins, 59, passed away unexpectedly Monday, December 26, from a heart attack, after being rushed to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, according to news from the Orange County Coroner’s Office posted today on the Orange County Register. Collins was named one of the 25 most influential surfers of the century in 1999 and the eighth most powerful surfer in the industry in 2002 by Surfer Magazine. He sold Surfline in 2000, but stayed on as president and chief forecaster, heading the forecast team, according to the OC Register, which featured an interview with Collins several years ago:
“I founded the site because I saw a need, but primarily because I wanted to follow my passions and wanted to control my own future. I believe the real secret of my success was to surround myself with really good people who could help to build our business,” he said.
His youngest son, A.J., said Collins was playing tennis at his club in Newport about 2 p.m. when he died suddenly and the family is together and trying to grapple with the news.
For the surf community, his sudden death is a loss of one of the most influential surfers in the world who changed the way people sought out waves around the world.
Collins founded the Huntington Beach-based Surfline, which started as a phone service and became one of the most powerful surf forecasting web sites in the world, guiding surfers who once aimlessly searched for waves but now had information readily available to predict the best windows for waves.
Peter “P.T.” Townend, surfing’s first world champion, remembers Collins coming to a meeting at Surfing Magazine and explaining this new phone service.
“We were all going ‘We don’t know if that will ever work,” he recalled. “And now look at us. It’s the No. 1 communication to our world.”
“We’ve all ridden more waves because of Sean Collins. It’s that simple.”