A stunning new drone video out of New Jersey showing a memorial paddle out for a fallen surfer has started to gain widespread attention for how it offers a beautiful, if somber, look into the camaraderie that surfing fosters within its community
Luke Mitchell, a 30-year-old lifelong surfer from Ocean Grove, New Jersey, died on Nov. 17 after a prolonged battle with a valvular heart disease. A competitive surfer, star salesman and surf instructor at the Eastern Lines Surf Shop in Belmont, New Jersey, according to his obituary, Mitchell spent his life looking for, “that perfect long right ride.”
In order to honor his legacy, over 70 surfers from the local community gathered to paddle out at the Ocean Grove pier on their surfboards before locking hands to form a massive ring in the ocean and beginning a prayer. Shortly thereafter, they flung flowers and leis into the center of the ring and paddled off to start their afternoon surf session.
Matt Bissel, an enthusiast photographer and videographer from the area who runs Shore Point Photography, was able to capture the entire scene through drone footage.
For Bissel, the video acts as a glimpse into the true roots of surf culture, and allows people who may have no experience with the sport to experience the basic tenants of love and communal support that are so essential to the culture.
“It was absolutely chilling to see what it looked like from the air,” Bissel told NJ 101.5. “[People] could get the feeling and understand the paddle out, and what it was all about.”