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When the news of Chris “Wraparound” Brown’s recent passing broke, the surf world reeled. The iconic Santa Barbara surfer, known for his huge smile and Curren-like style, was found near Hendry’s Beach in Santa Barbara. Social media was soon flooded with words of disbelief and heartfelt condolences, and after a few days to wrap his mind around things, Kelly Slater, who was close with Brown, wrote a touching remembrance on Instagram that we’ll post in its entirety below:

It’s taken me a couple days to even want to think about it. Chris Brown and I were nearly inseparable as teenagers. This guy was just such an excited, happy light in my childhood. He introduced me to Al Merrick and @cisurfboards.

My brother and I stayed with Chris and his family on the Mesa in SB a couple summers and traveled to Mexico, Australia, England, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and beyond with Chris and his dad, Dave. We used to sit in his house and just goof off all day listening to his brother play every heavy metal song we knew on his guitar.

The day I got my first Al shape when I was 16, Chris and I drove back and forth twice in the same day to Lompoc to surf cause SB had no waves. We’d listen to GnR in his brown truck. He used to mess with Josh Bradury when Josh would follow us in his car by waiting at a turn signal, pretending his car had something wrong with it, even getting out to check the engine, until the light was very yellow and then jump in and take off, leaving Josh stuck for another light! Haha.

Chris and I shaped a board together in his parent’s backyard, each shaping a rail. Being from the East Coast and riding @matt_kechele shapes, I had thick, rounded rails while Chris had been schooled on the finer, precision rails that worked well at Rincon. When we finally felt the board we laughed and decided we had to have Chris reshape mine down to feel like his rail. He actually won a #PSAA event on that board cause Al was gone for a month somewhere and he had broken his favorite board. I felt a huge sense of pride that he had competed on that thing.

Chris, Sean, and I made ourselves wooden boards to ride the ice plant down the Mesa in front of his house. I guess the waves were so flat all summer we had no better ideas. We would skate down the steep hills to the Channel Islands shop to pass time when there was nothing else to do. It was so exciting being from the East Coast, knowing Chris, and then getting to know the Channel Islands family. It was truly life changing for me. Chris surfed like Tom Curren (@curfuffle). You would see the lineage in every wave he rode and being around that style as a kid was so inspiring.


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