When I was asked to help document the paddle-out memorial for Drew Brislen, I of course had to say yes, even though I had never met him. Being able to give back to the local community with my photography is one of the most rewarding things I can do as a professional and a passionate artist.
I paddled out with the other surfers then swam off my surfboard to photograph everyone encircled around Drew’s wife, Michelle, in her kayak. As I photographed and heard each of his dear friends and family members remember him, I realized what a kindred spirit he was: adventurer, took the path less traveled, ocean lover, surfer, designer, artist. I knew I was meant to be there.
It was an honor to be reminded by this special group of people how important it is to appreciate and honor each day we have with our loved ones because you just never know when it’s going to end.
“About 200 friends and relatives turned out at San Clemente’s North Beach on Thursday morning for a paddle-out in memory of Drew Brislen, a 40-year-old San Clemente man who died a week ago after he apparently became caught in a kelp bed while free diving off Laguna Beach.”