RIP Sean Collins

Surfline Forecaster Passes Away from Heart Attack

| posted on December 26, 2011

Sean Collins, founder of Surfline and one of the most influential surfers of our era, passed away on Monday. Photo: Surfline

It’s with a heavy heart that we’re reporting that Sean Collins, the founder of Surfline, passed away from a heart attack on Monday. He was 59.

Arguably one of the most influential surfers of his era, Collins reshaped the way surfers from across the world track swells and storms through, the website he founded in the 1990s. Primarily self-taught, Collins was regarded as one of the most esteemed forecasters in the industry and regularly advised the World Tour on approaching swells and weather conditions.

In its early days, Surfline was a call-in forecasting service, but with Collins’ foresight and business savvy, the company grew into a forecasting and media hub when it became a digital entity. In 2000, Collins sold the company but stayed on as President and Chief Forecaster. In 2008, he was inducted into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame.

“I founded the site [Surfline] because I saw a need, but primarily because I wanted to follow my passions and wanted to control my own future. I believe the real secret of my success was to surround myself with really good people who could help to build our business,” he told the OC Register. “The personal payoff is the lifestyle of continuing to be able to chase great surf around the world while getting paid for it, and I couldn’t do that without my great team of people.”

Collins leaves behind a loving family and an endless list of people proud to call him a friend. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family. We’ll miss you, Sean.

  • Nage Versus

    As a weather fan and a surfer, Sean Collins was my hero. He was always able to break down the science of swell into easy to understand explanations. It was very cool to see him (through Surfline stories) take some more time to go on surf trips to Baja with his son and others. A smart, well-spoken surfer with genuine stoke. What a guy.


  • Dick Gude

    While Sean was one of the most influential surfers in his era, he was a terrific tennis player as well, playing out of Lindborg Racquet Club in Huntington Beach in his early days and then at Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach in later years. Sean was consistently happy, warm and friendly to all who came in contact with him. He loved his surfing world and his tennis as well. His PTC tennis family will miss him dearly. Love ya Sean.

  • Nitti

    Sad to hear. Always enjoyed the forecast break down on So Cal swells. Kept me one step ahead of the pack when it came to picking the right break for an early morning go out. In addition it helped me understand the ocean better and gain more respect.

    Back in the day my roommate and I would do the surf report for KMET an LA radio station for Santa Monica [bay st]..1 to 3 ft. fair to poor conditions with a SW wind was all we could offer. Thanks for seeing the future Sean. RIP