Obituary: Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz

Words by Mat Arney



March 3rd 1921 – November 10th 2014
Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, image courtesy Paskowitz Surf Camp.

Legendary surfer Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, often referred to as the patriarch of the “First Family of Surfing”, passed away on Monday evening in Newport Beach, California at the age of 93.

Paskowitz was born in Galveston, Texas, to a Russian Jewish immigrant family and became a Stanford educated physician before giving up a successful medical career in 1956 to travel to Israel. An avid surfer from the age of twelve, he took a longboard with the intention of spreading surfing to the fledgling state’s Mediterranean beaches. In 2007, as a founder of the charity Surfing4Peace, he performed a similar act when he carried donated surfboards across the border into Gaza in the hope that a shared love for riding waves might help to bridge some of the barriers to peace between the people of Palestine and Israel.

Dorian Doc Paskowitz Surfers For Peace Israel Palestine

Carrying donated surfboards across the Erez Crossing into Gaza in 2007.

Through the 1960s and 70s Dorian and his third wife Juliette took to the road. The couple had nine children (eight sons and a daughter), raising them in nomadic fashion in a succession of large campervans away from mainstream education and according to Doc’s strict interpretation of a healthy lifestyle. They surfed on a nearly daily basis and several of the boys went on to become competitively successful.
Dorian Doc Paskowitz and Family

Doc Paskowitz with 8 of his 9 children.  Image courtesy Paskowitz family collection.

In 1972 the family founded the Paskowitz Surf Camp, running classes each summer in Southern California as well as special camps in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and Montauk, New York. Israel “Izzy” Paskowitz, the fourth of Dorian and Juliette’s children, continues to run the family business. Dorian went on to become a health guru in the world of surfing, authoring a book titled “Surfing and Health” having contributed regular health columns to Surfer Magazine throughout the 1970s. In 1991 he was inducted into the International Surfing Hall of Fame, and he continued to ride waves in his nineties until his health and wellbeing deteriorated following hip surgery earlier this fall.

 


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