CORONADO, Calif. – Hundreds of people gathered at Coronado Shores Beach Friday evening to remember the surf coach at Coronado High School, who died earlier in the day while surfing off of Sunset Cliffs.
Stan Searfus, 56, died while surfing with a good friend near Point Loma Nazarene University, according to a GoFundMe page. Searfus leaves behind his wife Jan and children Hank, Oskar, Clark, Berkeley, and young twins Jake and Josh.
"He’s a really big part of my life and a lot of other kids lives at the high school," said Sydney Zohrer, a member of the surf club Stan Searfus coached. She was pulled out of class Friday morning and told about her coach's death.
“I think knowing he passed away doing what he loved will spark an interest in us to making sure his legacy will live on," said Zohrer
The news of Searfus' death spread quickly through the Coronado community.
"Just a stellar man in this community, part of the Optimist Club, part of our school system," said Dollie Catlin. "He taught all of our children how to surf. He taught all of our children human kindness."
Zohrer said Searfus taught her some of life's most important lessons.
"He was just a great person in general who taught the kids about water safety a love for the ocean," said Zohrer. "He’s taught me to stick with it even when times get tough."
She and many students are hoping that what they learned from Searfus will help them find peace in the water.
"Keep that surf spirit alive because, that’s what he would want us to do," Zohrer said.