Special tribute wall celebrates life of big wave surfer - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Special tribute wall celebrates life of big wave surfer from Carlsbad

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CARLSBAD - (CBS 8) - Friends of a Carlsbad man who lost his life in a surfing accident off the north shore of Oahu earlier this month have created a special public tribute dedicated to the beloved 32-year-old surfer.

Kirk Passmore, who graduated from Carlsbad High in 1999, had been taking advantage of Hawaii's monster surf the morning of November 13 when he wiped out on a 20-foot wave, fell off his board and was subsequently struck by another wave. He never re-surfaced.

"To see him go out that way, it is unfortunate, it's tragic, but I don't think he would have wanted it any other way," said friend Joshua Ramirez, who had known Passmore for the past 18 years.

"He was the most passionate person about life and surfing and friends and family," added local artist Bryan Snyder, who had been close friends with Kirk Passmore since elementary school. Snyder came up with the idea of transforming the wall of a downtown Carlsbad building, whose owner had previously given his blessing, into a tribute to Passmore.

"It was a way for us to release a lot of emotions, and for those who hadn't seen him in a while, it was a way for them to connect with him again," added Snyder.

The wall includes a portrait of Passmore standing tall in the center, surrounded by heartfelt messages, poems and images created by loved ones with spray paint, chalk and magic marker.

"He was 6'3, 6'4, super tall, lanky, bright orange hair, and he just had this presence, this aura about him," said Susanna Kurner, another friend and the wife of Bryan Snyder. "Everybody loved him and wanted to be friends with him."

Kurner also wrote and performed a special tribute song dedicated to Kirk and his life.

"I just felt that the words ad the chords really came to me," Kurner added. "I don't know if Kirk had a hand in helping me write it, maybe?"

Passmore had moved to Hawaii permanently a couple years earlier, to pursue his passion of surfing and to open his own surf shop.

The tribute wall, which friends, family and community members are continuing to contribute to, is located near the Carlsbad Village train station in downtown Carlsbad, across from the northern end of the station's parking lot.

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