Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Paddle Out

Nothing can pay tribute, to a surfer who has passed away, more than a ceremonial paddle out. It is surfing’s honorable sendoff. We put the word out to do this for Robin and didn’t know what kind of turn out to expect.

On October 5th at noon, participants began arriving at the Rodanthe Pier for an informal covered dish beach party. By about 1:00 there were well over 150 people on site to pay their respects. We began paddling out at 1:15. It looked like about 80 people, aged 8 and up, on surfboards, a few kayaks and boogie boards.

It was slick calm, warm and sunny, ideal conditions for Robin’s memorial.

The photographs shown here are a compilation of several contributing photographers:

Amberly Dyer, April Contestable, Bev Martin, Jim and Marcy Martin, Ben Tran, Denise and Mike Halminski


under pier

big gun

Kelly Schoolcraft and Russell Blackwood were on hand to pay their respects

scooter So were Jay and Scooter.

under pier


crabs There was plenty to eat, especially when Eric came in hoisting a bushel of steamed crabs.

15 minutes left


Chandra Rutledge made three beautiful leis for the occasion.



Denise was my co-conspirator for this great event.


Beverly Bull gave me some bird of paradise flowers to throw out on the sea, along with Chandra’s orchid lei.


cousins Our special guests were Robin’s cousins, Rob and Jean Marie from Delaware. They were accompanied by their spouses, Jeff (left) and Bev (center). There were many great stories shared by them.

charlie & betz

Charlie and Betz Mullen had it made in the shade..

jo & buddy Jo and Buddy Brothers did too.

Eric A

Eric Anglin was ready to go out.

going out Let the paddle out begin!

going out 

sponge & co



big tom



GoPro YouTube video: courtesy of Brett Butler






richard Richard Byrd was paddling Robin’s ten foot Gary Propper model vintage Hobie.

Eric Eric and I thought it would be nice to extend the paddle out to the shipwreck and secure the lei to a buoy.


Selby Gaskins Jr. and crew watched from the pier.

boys Colin and Ben Tran witnessed their first Paddle Out.

Processed with VSCOcam with x6 preset Twelve year old Ben made this remarkable interpretation of the ceremony.

petals There were petals out on the water.

to the wreck We paddled out to the wreck.

April April had her old Dewey Weber.

Jon Jon Brown brought out his Redman shaped Hatteras Glass.

Benji Robin’s old buddy Benji Stansky watched from the pier.

gals on pier Jan Deblieu, Susan West, Marcia Lyons and Beverly Bull celebrate on the end of the pier.


Allen Jones had his studio set up.


At eight years old, Mia Phillips made the entire paddle out to the shipwreck.


Eleven year old Johnny Contestable also made it out to the wreck.

mike & jan

Here I am with Robin’s favorite Natty Bo and writer Jan Deblieu.

gals & ron There were shots to be had.

Robin Gerald

Allen Jones made this striking portrait of Robin with his “Propper” in 1998.

1967 Robin had this photograph on his wall  for as long as I’ve known him. It was taken at the north side of Indian River Inlet in 1967. He would have just graduated from high school.

Aloha, Robin!

Hunter, Gatherer

More than once, Robin told me that he was a living anachronism. From his early years as a kid in Delaware, he was already interested in hunting, fishing, trapping and archaeology. He loved the natural environment as a gift, and learned how to use it.

By the time I had him as a neighbor here in Waves, he was quite adept at all of those interests. At times, for our small band of surfing brothers, he was a provider.

snow geese

With a light dusting of snow, the geese were flying by in formation. Robin got 3 right off the bat behind our trailer in Salvo. 1977

deer Robin had just shot this deer in Buxton Woods, and came by to show BJ and me when we lived in Salvo. Susie, his black lab was a great bird dog and didn’t normally hunt deer with him.1977

camo Robin would often jump shoot for his water fowl. In this 1985 photo,he used my chesapeake bay retriever, Boca, for some teal hunting.

diving  In this 1991 photo, Robin was free diving for fish over the 1891 shipwreck, Strathairly. His spear fishing exploits were largely successful.

s-curve In 1978, the S-Curve area had a wave that walled up beautifully and was uncrowded. Robin rode a single fin 6-10 winger-pintail that he made. He was not using surf leashes yet, and was about the only one in the water that knee paddled for his waves.

clammer Robin and I went clamming on Ocracoke Island frequently. In 1994 we raked this nice basketful.


The CR Connection

In 1982, at the invitation from friend Jeff Ray, I made my first trip to Costa Rica. Jeff had been there lots of times and even owned a rustic thatched hut on a secluded beach. It was this introduction that had me returning numerous times thereafter. I loved the country, the surf and the diversity of nature. It was a photographer’s dream.

I went again in 1990. This time I was traveling with my brother and Robin. They had never been to Costa Rica before and I showed them places that I enjoyed on previous trips. We moved around for about a month, but spent the bulk of our time in one of my favorite spots, the left handed point break of Pavones.

monteverdeRobin posed with our rental 4×4 at the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

hammockWe set up camp right at the point, and the cantina pit bull became our friend.

pointOnce camped out next to the river mouth, we made ourselves quite at home. This was Easter dinner.

centenarioTailgate party at the point, featuring Rob, Ron Centenario and Robin.

cantinaOne afternoon my brother and I sat on the wall at the cantina and watched Robin buzz by toward the cove.

pavonesThen he walked up the rocky beach and joined us in the cantina

Robin was so amazed by the place that he went back there almost every year since. He got to know the locals and made many new friends. His final trip was 2010.

I went back in 1994 for some extensive hiking, but didn’t return after that. It was not until 2007 when Robin invited Denise and I to Costa Rica for a belated honeymoon. Through some friends, he arranged for us to stay in a beautiful house perched on the hillside of the rain forest at Punta Banco. It was a trip of a lifetime. We will never forget his consideration and love for us.

aracariThe view from our room was spectacular, and the beach exquisite.