Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
Surfrider’s Huntington/Seal Beach tribe gathered above the sea at the River’s End in Seal Beach on May 28th to say good-bye to Tony Soriano, the chapter’s longtime chair and advisor.
When the conch shell sounded everyone came together to honor and celebrate Tony’s life (1947-2022) and to share stories about the dedicated and fearless leader who loved surfing, the environment, and the people around him.
Wearing Surfrider Ts, Hawaiian shirts, flower leis and leaf crowns, Tony’s ohana (friends and family) remembered his boundless energy and enthusiasm and countless acts of kindness.
Surfrider CEO Chad Nelsen said Tony helped chapters across the nation protect the oceans, waves and beaches. H/SB Chapter co-chair KC Fockler talked about how Tony’s generous heart and tireless work for the chapter inspired everyone.
Jeff Coffman remembered the way Tony got everyone involved and made them want to do more to protect the beach and environment. Joe (Samoa) McMullin said that Tony drew him into Surfrider when they met at the beach, remembering they both had been stung – many times! – by the stingrays at the River’s End.
Norma and Alex Sellers told SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti how much they would miss Tony’s smile and all the fun they had together at beach cleanups. We agreed that Tony had a smile as bright as the sun and a sense of endless possibilities.
A hula dancer performed in Tony’s honor. Guests looked at his photos and signed the memory book.
The trunk of Tony’s car was filled with mementos of his adventures and accomplishments. Many of Tony’s prized surfboards were lined up, as if waiting to go out again.
Alex Soriano, Tony’s son, thanked everyone for being there and talked about how his father made people feel connected. He said that whenever Tony saw trash on the beach, he picked it up. He knew that his father would want all of us to do the same. Then he and Rocky McKinnon led the tribe to the water’s edge.
The tribe gathered the flowers that had been donated by Surfrider sponsor Albertson’s and headed out into the ocean for the paddle out…
and one last aloha to Tony.
Thanks to those whose photos were included in this story. Mahalo! – Sunny and Patti
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