Friends of Steve Adler surrounded his 13-year-old son, placing their hands on the big, green Stand Up Paddleboard, Steve's prize possession, where Clark sat.
Clark said the biggest lesson his father taught him over the years was "how to be a good person."
Clark Adler, 13, kisses his dad's ashes before releasing them to sea during a paddle out
Many of the hundreds who gathered on the sand at Surfside beach on Sunday would have said Steve Adler was a great example of a good person, a mellow surfer with easygoing ways who always had a smile on his face.
The surfing and SUP community said goodbye to one of their own during a traditional paddle-out ceremony, with more than 350 people who sat or stood on boards offshore, held hands and splashed as memories were shared.
Steve Adler suffered an aneurysm in a vessel near his heart on March 11. He was 40.
(Steve was our friend and neighbor and a most tender-hearted and devoted father. We will miss him always.)
Steve Adler was my neighbor. More importantly, he was my son's dear friend and a loving and dedicated father to a remarkable and lovely young man. Steve died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 41. Our little community and the larger surf community that was Steve's world has suffered a great loss. Our loss and grief is dwarfed by the loss his son and family will bear. I pray Steve's memory will be a blessing to all who were lucky enough to know him. And I pray his beloved son, Clark, will always remember how much his father loved him and how much we all loved his father.
The untimely passing of one of Orange County's finest surfboard craftsman.
March 12, 2010, 12:33 PM
By: Jake Howard
Sadly this morning the Seal Beach and Surfside surfing communities are coming to learn that one of their own, surfer/shaper/paddler/all-around good-human Steve Adler has passed. While details of his untimely departure are still forthcoming, the impact that the 41-year-old Surfside local had on people in his brief time with us is evident.
From the shaping bay to the lineup to the start line, Adler will be missed
Adler, a career surfboard builder, shared a shaping factory in Westminster, Calif., with fellow craftsman Tim Stamps. Reportedly the two were at the shop together yesterday afternoon, Stamps up front and Adler in the back finishing up a board -- sanding a leash plug -- when Adler collapsed. Paramedics were called but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. Early word is he died of a heartattack, but that has yet to be confirmed.
Stamps summed up his feelings about Adler in a brief Facebook post this morning:
"One of the best guys I know."
Adler was currently ranked second in the Southern California standup paddle rankings' stock class, was a partner in TheSUPSpot.com, and was in the process of helping Jodie Nelson prepare for her arduous 39-mile battle to raise breast cancer awareness.
"He raced to the finish well," commented fellow SUP competitor Lance Erickson. "I couldn't catch him last Sunday in Cabrillo. That green board was out of reach, sorry for your loss... we as a family of paddlers will miss him."
Alder leaves behind a 13-year-old son and very heartbroken surfing community. Details about memorial services to come.
When I brought my precious baby boy home from the hospital, I realized pretty quickly, just how little I knew about dealing with an infant. I remember the panic I sometimes felt at the beginning of the day when I realized I had a full day ahead of me, with my infant son, and no skills or knowledge as to what to do with him. At least babies sleep so much, it gives new parents time to regroup and plan their next moves! Since my baby boy began college, I almost feel the same loss of bearings and insecurity. You see, having a man-child go off to college, where his only responsibilities are to his academics, and then come home for a few weeks where he is expected to do chores. spend time with the family. and tell people where he is going, is a difficult adjustment. By the time I was my boys' age, my parents had already passed away, so I have no Earthly idea what a normal 20 year old man would be thinking in dealing with his loving, generous, and OPINIONATED mother. I thank G-d, my son is too polite and disciplined to tell me how he really feels about my endless questions and advice! My greatest hope for the new year, is that I can show more restraint and allow my son to be who he needs to be. Who knew it would actually become MORE difficult, in some ways, to deal with children once they are grown? Makes me long for the temper-tantrums of yesteryear. At least a cuddle and a cookie could usually save the day, back then.
So, my boy calls and says that he will be home for the weekend as his college buddy, whose family lives near us, will be driving home. I went right to work; put fresh sheets on his bed, shopped for the boy's favorite foods, and baked biscotti for him, (and his buddy) to take back to school. When he arrived late Friday night, we were so happy to see him. Like mental patients, happy! "What happened to your head?" I asked. "Nice, Mom. It was getting too long and it was so hot, I decided to cut it." He cut it HIMSELF! With what, I am sure I don't know. While I do not exactly find this look appealing, I love love love that he is obviously unconcerned about his appearance. So, before he heads back to school, I'd really like to clean up his haircut, though I have to ask myself; if he is fine with it the way it is, why aren't I?
I never realized, 20 years ago when I was expecting my first child, that once I became a mother, I'd become everybody's mother. If a child steps foot in my house, he is fed, told to put on sunscreen before heading outside, given hugs, and reprimanded if they say or do something inappropriate. Is that just me? As I look at the photo of these beautiful boys I wonder; just how old will they have to get before I no longer see them as children. I'm thinking somewhere around 40?
College Orientation. More like disorientation! Hundreds of students and their parents show up with varying expectations and degrees of apprehension, mixed with nostalgia and in my case, fear! So many temptations and so much freedom on most university campuses. It's like I told my mister when our son injured his foot, "You should have let me bubble-wrap him when he was born, like I wanted to!" I know we have raised him to be responsible and decent. It's everything and everyone that crosses his path that has me worried! Meeting other parents at orientation, I was struck by how similar we all seem to be feeling and yet, how differently we are coping. There is definitely a marked difference between parents who are sending their first one off and those who have sent others before. Dropping my beloved child off in a new city with his toothbrush and laptop and driving home without him, is simply more than I can bear to think about right now. It's a very lucky thing I have a month to get a grip! At the (dis)orientation, I was heartened by the tales told by the more experienced parents. Tales of children finding profound and genuine appreciation for their parents for the first time. Tales of children calling home for support. And visits punctuated with displays of affection and long talks. While I do think my kid appreciates me, I can just imagine how much more he will appreciate me when he is living away from home. Away from homemade biscotti and enchiladas. Away from the warmth and support of our little family unit. I miss him already. Perhaps it's my heart I should have bubble wrapped.
My boy, the one who is abandoning me in favor of going away to college, happened to break his foot just hours before we headed off to college orientation. My boy was terribly disappointed, not to mention uncomfortable! This particular boy likes to be inconspicuous, stealthy, incognito! He HATES drawing attention to himself. As luck would have it, it was impossible for him to be inconspicuous at orientation, where he quickly became known as 'the kid in a wheelchair'. On the upside, his injury became a conversation starter as kids would ask how he'd injured himself. It pleased him beyond measure to answer that he'd injured himself with a bad landing while skydiving. The truth that he'd rolled his ankle playing soccer is so much less interesting! Since students were in sessions separate from the parents (much to my chagrin!) he had to be wheeled by other students and orientation staffers. When they headed off to the first session, a lovely young staffer was going to lead the group and push the wheelchair. She shouted to the crowd of students, "FOLLOW THE WHEELCHAIR!" My boy says that he wishes he had a photo of what followed; there he was in the wheelchair being pushed across campus by a staffer, followed by about one hundred students! For the rest of the weekend, each time we happened upon the boy, he was being pushed by one of the pretty girls in the group! What began as a huge liability ended up being a complete blessing for the boy. Some people have all the luck.
We are heading to the boy's college orientation soon. I told my boy that for fun, I would be assigning myself a new and unusual occupation when I introduce myself at said orientation;
I then said that I would also be manufacturing excessive emotion during the orientation sessions; quivering chin, cracking voice, copious tears. His response?
"Have fun with it. You'll only embarrass yourself."
If only he had adopted this attitude during his middle school years when
simply having a mother was enough to cause embarrassment!
Is it just me or does my baby boy look about twice as big as me? He looks like Gulliver! Granted, he is somewhat taller and bigger than I am but when I looked at this shot, I couldn't help thinking I looked about the size of an average 4th grader! Another thing that struck me about this photo was my boy's face. Not the face of a boy any more. Not by a long shot. I can remember when he would fall asleep in the car and I could carry him to bed, upstairs even! Now, he looks as though he could squish me like a bug! I wonder if I look that small to him. I was so taken aback at how small I looked in this picture that the boy tried to convince me he looks so much bigger because of his wet suit. "It's like armor," he said. But I'm not buying it; a wet suit is more like a glove than armor, for Pete's sake! I guess he was just being protective of my feelings and at twice my size, he SHOULD be protective of me! Perhaps I can get a job in the sideshow of a circus...
I didn't sleep much last night. I was busy worrying about things I have no control over, obsessing over mistakes I should and could have avoided. What a colossal waste of time and energy. I awaken feeling exhausted, cross, and spent. And not in a good way! Then I see my boys in the morning and I am instantly reassured. They are living proof that I did not screw up the most important things. Loved them with my whole heart and put their needs before mine. It was the least I could do. They are mine for such a short period of time. There is no 'later' when you are raising children. When they need you or are willing to open up to you or have a question, you have to be available; especially if you have a child who is of a reserved nature. Sometimes, when my man-child of few words begins to open up, I freeze, careful not to break the spell, interrupt his momentum. I try not to make any sudden movements as though he is a bird that could fly away! I bask in the warmth of the moment knowing he will take flight soon enough.
It feels about one hundred years since this photo was taken. I can scarcely remember life before my children. I remember it was a lot of fun; I do remember that! The second I was handed my first baby boy, the entire universe shifted and I was forever and irrevocably changed. No one told me that after you have a baby, you never have a worry-free day again. And no one told me that I would feel love, joy, tenderness, attachment, and protectiveness beyond anything I could ever imagine. And lots of people told me it goes too fast. I didn't believe it. When you are dealing with diapers and tantrums and sleepless nights, it doesn't seem to go quite fast enough. But it does indeed go ridiculously fast. And now here I am, eagerly checking the mail each day for letters from colleges for my boy. Curious about where my son will live without me for the very first time. Excited for my monkey yet dreading the day I leave him in a distant city with his toothbrush and laptop to make his own life. It is no small thing. I suspect that when that day comes, my universe will shift yet again.
Since I am abundantly aware of the fact that I am flawed, I have this little quote posted in my powder room. It reminds me that my children are always watching me and what I do and how I react are infinitely more impressive upon their impressionable young minds than what I say. And so, one day last week, my 19 year old monkey noticed my quote and began teasing me. He found it corny and goofy. It seems there are an infinite number of things that a 19 year old young man will find amusing about his mother. I decided that perhaps he should have a special quote that greets him each time he brushes his teeth. This is the quote I propped up on the boys' bathroom sink.
I waited for two days for some reaction from the big one. Nothing. When I asked him about it, he merely answered, "Oh yeah, I saw that." The little monkey however, had a different reaction and left a new message for me. Cheeky monkey!
I pick up my tall, tired, and fabulous monkey from LAX and I realize that I have been holding my breath (figuratively speaking, of course) for an entire month. I see him round the corner from customs and as he comes into view, I thank God he is back safe and sound. He looks taller, older and no longer mine. Our eyes meet and his face breaks into a giant grin. He takes a breath, anticipating his mother's tears. There were none, I am happy to report. He makes his way to me and allows a hug, hugs back and waits until I release him, to let go of me. One month is a long time to travel in a foreign country where you don't speak the language. Where you volunteer on a military base and work, sleep, and eat when you are told. One month is a long time to be away from family, home, and in this case, the ocean. The boy was so happy to be home, he let me hold his hand the entire walk to the car. Not exactly the sort of thing he has allowed in many moons. He is after all, a grown man. And I, am a happy old woman!
I get a lovely call from the #1 monkey the other morning. He has reached the destination of his volunteer gig for the next three weeks; an Israeli Army Base at the Egyptian/Israeli Border. He is more than a five hour bus ride from Tel Aviv. Scared? Yes, I am. He is not. He sounded exhilarated at having just met folks from all over the world at the base. They are all there to contribute their time, energy, and talent to lend support to this tiny nation. My boy will be helping put up barbed wire fencing along the border in an effort to stem the flow of illegal arms and thwart drug smuggling. Nice. I realize this probably seems just awful to the open border folks out there. I, too, would love it if there were nothing but good and decent people in the world who wanted to live peacefully and did not have any interest in spreading illegal arms and toxic drugs for a little, or a lot, of dough. Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in. I am proud that my baby boy is going to be spending his time and energy trying to protect Israel. And I pray that while doing so, he will be protected, as well. Amen.
I miss these two like you can't believe. I am a firm believer that you can have everything in life. Just not always at the same time. So, since I want to be in California for a while, I must miss my little friend, Chrysler. And since I want my #1 monkey to see the world, I have to endure missing him, as well. These two made an odd and magical pair. While Ivan was busy with schoolwork, Chrysler would shadow Adrian. He'd follow Adrian around and would seem utterly surprised when Adrian would turn around and speak to him.
I suppose it was a new experience for Chrysler that a 19 year old Gringo, would be interested in what he had to say. After a while, Chrysler found the confidence to show up one day with his set of checkers and ask Adrian if he wanted to play. They played for the longest time. Certainly longer than Adrian really wanted to but he was very generous about it. After each game, Adrian's eyes would meet mine, he'd take a deep breath and and then he would ask Chrysler, "Otra vez?" (Again?) and Chrysler would light up and say, "SI!"
The Middle East, that is. My monkey is leaving for Israel in a few days for one month. It seemed like such a great idea when we planned it six months ago. Now, not so much. This trip comes on the heels of spending three months in a country that doesn't even HAVE a military and now he is off to spend one month in a country with a very necessary military. Yesterday, he and I were buying a gift for a friend's daughter. As the shopkeeper was wrapping it, she mentioned how nice it was that my son had accompanied me. I proceeded to tell her that we were running errands as he is soon to go off on this trip. The shopkeepers husband, whose back had been to us, turned around and looked at Adrian for the longest time. He then came over to us. He looked my boy in the eye and got his wallet out of his pocket. As he removed a dollar from his wallet, he explained to Adrian that, in the Jewish religion, if he is in the process of carrying out a good deed on someone's else's behalf, he will be protected while carrying it out. He instructed Adrian to take the dollar to give to charity while he is in Israel, on his behalf. My boy took the dollar and they shook hands. I thanked him, tears in my eyes, deeply moved that this lovely stranger was attempting to ensure my boy's safety. It takes so very little to make a difference, a profound difference, in someone's day. I cry now as I write this. Perhaps I'm moved all over again by the kindness of a stranger or perhaps because I, like the kind stranger, know how uncertain life can be.
I hope your birthday in the jungle is a happy one. I know the celebration this year will be considerably more modest than your last one!
And although I will likely always see you like the little boy you were, I respect the man you've become.
You are a loyal friend, good brother, fine son, and generous member of the community.
You have been a much greater blessing and brought me more joy than I had any right to expect.
You are a man of few words; but those few are well worth the wait as you can be outrageously funny and surprisingly insightful.
You have a kind and considerate nature. You have even inspired me to 'zip the lip' (as you say) more often and be more patient and generous. You are no longer my man-child who belongs to his family; you belong to the world. You have the heart and strength and character to be as big a blessing in the world as you have been to me.
I mean it. I appreciate that some of the beaches we go to have this little warning posted. I wish they all did as there are people who come here to enjoy their vacations and drown simply because they are inexperienced with rip tides and didn't know they were at risk. I am not opposed to taking risks and facing danger. Obviously, I am still here. I am opposed to magical thinking; when people think they are somehow exempt from bad things happening to them so they will IGNORE risks and dangers. Why exactly are they exempt; because they are special? Believe me, hospitals and morgues are filled with people who thought they were special too. Life is messy. And since I can't protect my babies from the dangers in the world, it is incumbent upon me to prepare them, instead. It's no fun being the Debbie Downer of the family always bringing up risks and worst case scenarios but someone's got to do it. I figure, you bring it up, discuss strategy and then you can move on. End of discussion. If only they made signs like the one above for every risk my children face, my job would be SO much easier!
Our daily life in the jungle is circumscribed around several things. One of the most annoying is making sure that Ivan's academic requirements are satisfied. (Did she say annoying? What kind of a mother is she!) As I have been homeschooling Ivan for the past five years and truth be told, not loved every minute of it, (nor has he!) this year we opted for an accredited high school on-line. He has five different teachers he sends his assignments to and takes his exams on-line, as well. The tricky part was figuring out how to teach him math; on-line lessons and self-teaching with a text book wasn't working well for Ivan.
Brian is quite busy and as for me, I can barely add and don't even think about asking me to subtract! Enter Adrian on a white horse. Okay, a white surfboard, maybe! Here is said math teacher with his most charming math student. I really don't know what I would have done about math if Adrian had not decided to take a gap year with us. I do hope Ivan learns what he needs to know to pass ninth grade but frankly, that just isn't the most important thing right now. This will likely be the last year we will all be living under the same roof. I can hardly bear to think about that too much. So you see, Ivan's schoolwork simply can't be the focus of my life here.
My focus is on appreciating the experience of having my boys to myself one last year, the brothers together, the boys speaking Spanish, making friends with people whose lives and life experiences are nothing like ours, the walks and laughs and even arguments. Clearly, I have bigger fish to fry, as they say. And speaking of fish; I will have to tell you about the local Tilapia Farm we all visited.