Remembering Stan ...
In the early morning hours of January 5, 2018 the Coronado and southern California surfing community lost Stan Searfus, a universally loved waterman who possessed an energy and spirit that will be deeply missed by those of us that were lucky to have him in our lives.
Born in 1961 at Navy Balboa Hospital, Stan Searfus was one of five brothers and sisters born to a young woman from Indiana and Navy pilot based in Coronado. They moved around a bit as Navy families often do, but in November 1967 Stan's father was lost in combat in the Vietnam War and his mother returned to Coronado to raise the kids. As Stan always told it, once back on the island he turned into a "free range" kid along with his brother Tim and "just ran wild." Running between the officer’s club pool and the beach, Stan and his brother ran riot on the island and Stan got himself into the water anytime he could. Stan loved to share stories about the two of them sneaking out of this or that place to catch a surf. A neighbor (and as it would turn out a lifelong influence), retired UDT SEAL Master Chief Stan Antrim also loved surfing, and would take the boys to Mexico... sometimes for a day or as long as a week to catch waves. When he started surfing in middle school it was a natural progression from all of the hours he had spent body surfing every nook and cranny along Coronado. He would lead a tribe of 20 to 30 kids on the island they would all jump on their bikes to catch waves whenever they could.
During sessions at North Island he found himself making rescues of unsuspecting swimmers caught in rip currents while he was waiting for waves. It didn't take long for Stan to realize his natural instincts might land him a job and before long he was lifeguarding at Naval Air Station North Island where he worked as a lifeguard on and off over the next 25 years saving countless lives and earning a reputation as a top class waterman.
For nearly fifteen years Stan headed up the middle school and high school surf teams in Coronado. Although he would tell you he was a surf coach, we all knew he was much more than that. Sure, he helped the kids learn the ins and outs of competition, but Stan always said his main goal was to help kids experience the joys of the ocean and to build strength and confidence in their ability to express themselves through surfing. He approached the job of “surf coach” with the zest of a surfing evangelist, with infectious energy and tireless commitment. He inspired kids not just to keep surfing, but also to incorporate their love of the ocean and the environment into the long arc of their lives.
His love of teaching lead to the founding of the Blue Wave Surf Camp that he started and then ran with the help of many of the older kids he had coached along the way. All year long you would see Stan in the water sharing the stoke with people of all ages. He also became the president of the Coronado Surfing Association and lead the recent growth of the club. He was always a part of each club event and activity only missing the last contest in November for a chance to jet to Panama with his brother Tim to scout out surf property as he moved closer toward his dream of developing an unrivaled surf destination. Stan found waves and shared stories from all over the world hitting spots in Australia to Fiji, and from Baja through Central America and beyond. But no matter how good the surf might be someplace else, Stan was the kind of guy that made any surf session a great one just by paddling out with you.
On January 5 we lost more than a good friend, a fellow surfer, or an avid waterman. In life there are those rare people that give so much of themselves that they amplify their goodness and stoke far beyond what they can hold in themselves. Anybody who spent any time with Stan felt that energy and couldn't help but be better for it. As busy as we all say we are, Stan was busier still. He was raising a house full of kids with his wife Jan, holding down a job, or two or three – but still making the time to work his magic as the Pied Piper of Stoke to hundreds of kids on the island over the years who not only learned to surf and love the ocean, but also felt part of something bigger than themselves. In his usual understated way he did nothing less than connect the past and future of our surfing community through irrepressible energy and positivity. Stan was a gift and though he is gone, his legacy to our community lies in the sheer magnitude of how much he gave to all of us in his life. We will never stop missing him.