For Dana Brown, driving the van he lived in across the country to surf in Huntington Beach became a personal dream. But when he finally made it to the waves, realizing that dream, a wave slammed him into a piling and he ultimately died.
On November 6, 60-year-old Brown had paddled out with the best of intentions, but the 4-to-6 foot surf proved overpowering. An online video shows Brown being rushed out of the water by a group of surfers, and lifeguards administering CPR. He was later rushed to the hospital and died four days later, according to reports.
Brown’s story and sense of adventure is one of kinship and loss. Racheal Katz, is a Florida resident and acquaintance of Brown’s that spoke to the Los Angeles Times. They met four years ago. At the time Brown was living with his father, George, out of his van in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
“Dana and his dad were innocent,” she said. “You don’t see innocent people anymore, and you definitely don’t find innocent 60-year-olds.”
Brown loved and cared for his father, especially as he grew ill due to age-related complications.
“When his dad got sick, he spent probably every day with him,” said Katz. “Dana carried him in and out of that van every day. He didn’t want him in any kind of an adult caring facility.”
George Brown died in March, and his son took it hard.
“They had a journey together, him and his dad,” said Katz. “The death kind of ruined what Dana believed.”
Brown embarked on his journey to Surf City about six months later. He stopped at different places along the way, all with the goal of walking the iconic Main Street and surfing in the shadow of the pier.
No one can be sure if Brown successfully caught a wave before his tragic accident, but one thing’s certain. He made it. And he died doing what he loved.
Friends of the Brown family have set up a GoFundMe campaign to cover Brown’s funeral expenses. He’s expected to be buried at a gravesite next to his father in Cocoa Beach in early December.