Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, Father of “First Family of Surf,” Passes Away at 93

by Owen James Burke


The surfing legend passed away on Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 (Photo: Omer Messinger)

Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz was a physician and surfer who in 1956, suffering from years of insomnia, anxiety and probably ensuing insanity, hung up the stethoscope to travel and surf with his wife and 9 children in a 24-foot camper, broke and loving it.

“…you can go swimming with sharks,” said one son of his parents’ approach to child-rearing, “but you’ll not be going to school, because that’s dangerous.” He didn’t just want his children to surf, he demanded it.

Life wasn’t ever really easy for the family, and anything but conventional, but Mr. Paskowitz instilled his children with love and appreciation for the finer things in life, and through his surf camp and stories, the world.

If you haven’t seen Surfwise, a documentary about Doc and the Paskowitz family, watch it. Here’s the trailer:

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“Wisdom you get from experience, and that is what my children had a lot of.”

The following is a post from the Paskowitz family’s Facebook page:


Goodnight Pop. This is how I will remember you…Smiling with me. We had a great last year. I will keep your name on our lips, until I will see you again one day. Kiss god for me. 1921-2014-

And here’s an Instagram post from one of Doc’s biggest fans, Kelly Slater, who had some loving words for the family on Instagram:

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Blessings to you, Dorian #DocPaskowitz. You’ve been a beacon of truth, light, knowledge, and determination for all of your surfing brothers. Despite numerous reports of Doc’s passing over the last week, he quietly said his #LastGoodbye this evening. I was lucky enough to spend time with him a few days ago and get a couple of big hugs and this final photo. He was passionate about diet and exercise but his biggest wish was to see peace in Gaza between Israel and Palestine and always believed that those who could surf together, could live together peacefully. He told me that if they would ‘pave the streets of Palestine in gold’ there would be peace between the people. He personally walked donated surfboards over the Israeli border to give to his Palestinian surfing brethren as a sign of respect and acknowledgment. Maybe one day his true dream will be realized. I’ll miss this crazy, old man who helped raise my little brother and teach me about the ways of the world. Condolences and love to his wife and 9 children. #Surfing4Peace #SurfersHealing #PaskowitzFamily

Une photo public par kellyslater (@kellyslater) on Nov. 11, 2014 at 10:50 PST

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