Was rolling through the new ESM 20 year anniversary issue when I came across the photo below. Being a former Coastie, the uniform kinda jumped out at me. Q: How many times do you see a uniformed service member in a surfing publication? A: Not very often. So, when I ran into Shawn yesterday morning I asked him about the photo. Since Shawn spent several tours on the OBX and racked up, I don't know how many, ECMSC (east coast military surfing championship) titles, he was a well known rippa down in those parts. Apparently ESM did a piece on his expliots and the article ran in a 2003 issue.
While it has only been 3 years since I first met him in person, I have known "of" him for quite a long time. The USCG surfing corps always seemed pretty small and if someone found out you were a surfer, there was always the question, "Do you know so and so at Station Someplace? He surfs too." Anyway, Shawn worked with a close personal friend of mine and if there was ever a conversation about surfing, he always mentioned his DC1. Over the years I had read about him dominating the military surfing events and even once read his name mentioned in The Surfer's Journal in an article about Alaskan surfing. I was fortunate enough to spend a week in the Nicaraguan jungle last fall with him and some of his friends. It was a real treat to watch him take apart the waves at Colorados and Panga drops. Hands down, the finest surfer I have ever had the fortune to call a friend. An all around great guy and dedicated family man.
Shawn is still wearing the uniform and still ripping up the waves, albeit in SNJ these days. As a Section Commander over at the USCG Training Center, Chief Garry molds the future of the Coast Guard by training recruits at basic training. Sadly, it looks as though he will be leaving our line-up this year as he moves onward and upward. I wish him only the best and look forward to surfing with him as long as the good Lord will allow.