Discussion in 'Surfing' started by Surfnfish, Feb 10, 2020.

  1. Surfnfish

    Surfnfish Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2015
    a quiet cabin in the woods
    Lost my brother from another mother yesterday, who died peacefully within the loving comfort of his son and girlfriend at the age of 62.

    Gary ‘Gaz’ Gregg, born in South Africa, was raised by a single father in a small beachfront cottage in Durban where he started surfing at age 10, making regular trips to J-Bay as a young teenager, surfing all day long and sleeping at night in the trees next to the dunes.

    Bitterly opposed to apartheid, with his father’s blessing Gaz bailed from SA at 17 so he would not have to join the SA army, compulsory at the time for all males age 17.

    Gaz spent the next two years surfing in France, then another year on the North Shore in HI, then worked his way to the Paicifc Northwest outside of Seattle, where he found steady work as a carpenter, started a family, and spent many weekends searching for surf on the north tip of the Olympic Peninsula. He also discovered both a passion and talent for Taekwondo, and soon became an accomplished tournament fighter around the PNW.

    When I met him, 14 year ago, Gaz was divorced, living in Pacific City on the Oregon coast, and we immediately became fast friends from the very start. Besides the endless surfing sessions we shared, we both loved fishing as well, and spent many hours together in my power skiff trolling for salmon at the rivermouths, or in my drift boat upriver shooting whitewater rapids to the next hole.

    Gaz was much beloved in Pacific City, the informal mayor of the town, well known and respected within the surfing community up and down the coast, part due to his prowess in winning longboard competitions, mostly because he was just a genuinely good guy. Elegant and casual, a magnet for the deep pocket, he was old school personified on a longboard.

    It was as the surfing instructor for the Moments surf shop, however, that Gaz really shined and touched many. Kids adored him and gals loved his easy going ways, patience and encouragement. The kids would run into the shop, or see him at the beach, and to one and all he was Uncle Gary.

    About a year and a half ago Gaz rekindled a relationship he’d had with a younger TKD tournament fighter before she’d moved to France in her early 20’s. She came to Oregon to visit her parents, made contact with Gary through Facebook, came to the beach to visit him, and divorced as well, they lit it right back up.

    When Gaz had told me about Robin, imagine my surprise when he explained what she had been doing in France and Europe for the past twenty five plus years. She was a human cannonball, shot out of a pneumatic cannon her uncle had invented decades earlier, at events across Europe for great pay.

    After a few months at the beach with Gaz, Robin had to get back to Europe as she had a whole tour of events across Europe lined up, so with both of them promising to visit back and forth she headed back to France.

    Gaz went over to see her a couple months later, and while there wasn’t feeling well, thinking he’d caught a bug. A few short days after he returned to the States, Gaz was found unconscious and airlifted to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer spreading through his brain. Robin immediately flew here, and was by his side day and night until he died yesterday, while the rest of us spent as much time with him as we could, and as much as he could handle.

    The PNW surfing community rallied for Gaz after he was diagnosed, over a hundred donors crowd funding for his care, rent and food. And now with Gaz passing, the remaining funds will be given to Robin, enough so that when she is ready to move on, she can return to France and restart her life. We're also going to auction off Gaz's extensive board collection to raise additional funds for her, and I've told the guy handling it whatever the final high bid on Gaz's beloved older Jim Philips red D fin pig is, just add $100 to it and I'll pick it up when the auction is over.

    I’ve been fortunate to have made many good friends along the way, some of many decades. Gaz was much more than a friend, however, he was the brother I never had until I met him. Damn, we had good times together, and I will always treasure them.
    IMG_20190115_100523_615.jpg IMG_20190118_090807784.jpg

    Glassy lineups forever, Gaz, see you on the other side.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
    DJR, Knots, Thomas Morra and 12 others like this.
  2. DanSan

    DanSan Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2012
    Deepest condolences for loss..
  3. deemce

    deemce Well-Known Member

    May 18, 2010
    USA Pennsylvania
    My condolences to you.
  4. nitsuj

    nitsuj Active Member

    Oct 3, 2005
    Met him many times in passing via my buddy Billy. RIP to your friend
  5. Dawnpatrol

    Dawnpatrol Well-Known Member

    May 7, 2006
    Sorry to hear of the loss Lance. As one of the judges in the Cleanwater Classic over the years Gary was recognized as a great competitor in the Masters. It was always fun to watch him surf and compete. Again, my condolences to you and the PC surfing community for the loss of a tribal elder.
  6. Surfnfish

    Surfnfish Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2015
    a quiet cabin in the woods
    thanks, brothers, much appreciated...DP, here's a pic of Gaz on his way to winning his age division a couple of Cleanwater's ago on my fave HPLB, loaned after he'd snapped his just before the contest...only time he'd leash up usually was during a contest if a swim meant a loss...
    life is hard, give and forgive, make good memories, have the best damn ride we can during our stay here..
  7. Ricksurfin

    Ricksurfin Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2019
    San Clemente, CA
    Sorry for your loss, but your great memories overshadow the sorrow. Embrace the good times and be so thankful for the friendship you had.
    DJR likes this.
  8. T-Bone

    T-Bone Active Member

    Very sorry for your loss! You and the others who knew him best will keep his memory alive and continue to spread his stoke!
  9. Basenji703

    Basenji703 Well-Known Member

    Apr 2, 2014
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Sorry for your loss!!!!!!
  10. NCJohn

    NCJohn Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2015
    Wilmington, NC
    Very sorry for your loss RIP Gaz what a life

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