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!

3 thoughts on “The Paddle Out

  1. Jennifer Janssen

    Mike, this is so beautiful. I could feel the love. Peace to all of you. I know he is well, smiling and watching. As I know Carey is too.

  2. Dan Caldwell

    Thank you Michael once again for your kindness to all of us who knew and loved Robin. I was very fortunate to have known Robin during sweet season of my youth age 16-18. Robin was a guy you don’t forget and was very much a true friend. We surfed a lot and road around a lot in the vintage hand painted by robin navy blue chevy pickup. He was funny and opinionated. A wonderful story teller and laughed at his own wit. I lived in Waves and Rodanthe in 1978-80 a surf grom going to High School in Buxton. When I needed extra cash he would let me join in on some of his house painting jobs. We shared many beautiful days surfing and some epic ones. Robin told me tales of surfing exotic of Puerto Rico talked board design. He made some of his own boards in those days and they were one of a kind as well. Being a transplant from urban South Florida I had not been exposed to seasonal changes and bird hunting. He was kind to include me on hunting outings near the villages. I was a terrible shot and however I enjoyed being out there learning the subtle beauty of the marsh. Robin was successful hunter most of the time and it was beautiful to see him work with Suzi his loyal Black Lab. One fridgid cold February day near Salvo we were staked out on a pond waiting as Big Orange sun setting in diffused grey horizon reflecting on cold steel glassy water. A Barn owl flew over us at very close range and the owls flight was muffled silence as it flew by and on down the marsh. He too was hunting and it was a profound moment of beauty I’ll never forget. A few minutes later the ducks flew in we both fired our guns and Suzi did her thing. I learned to pluck feathers and we had teal for dinner at the old Rodanthe house. Robin was a kind and generous friend. 8 years ago I returned to Hatteras to visit Robin and Carey in Salvo. My 16 year son Will and had his surf buddy Kyle along I wanted them to meet my surf buddy. Robin and Carey welcomed us we joked a bit about old times and then Robin took us out for a surf and a laugh. Robin you were a dear friend and collected many friends I am very thankful to have known you. Dan

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