Sean Collins, the founder of Surfline.com, died of a heart attack two days ago while playing tennis in Newport Beach, California, according to his website. He was 59.
Collins, who began surfing at the age of eight, developed a proprietary information system that kept surfers, lifeguards, U.S. Navy Seals, the National Weather Service, television and movie production companies, government agencies and the Coast Guard up to date on wave actions around the world.
“I’ve been in storms 100 miles out at sea, then surfed the same swells the next day,” Collins said on his website. “I was always looking at charts to plan my surfing and sailing, and developed a keen sense about the ocean.”
Surfline started as a phone service that provided proprietary surf reporting and forecasting services. After two years, Collins left and started a rival company. He bought out Surfline in 1990.
Five years later, he started Surfline.com to send free surf reports and then in 1996 added the first live surf cam. In 1999, Surfline had 200,000 unique monthly visitors, which eventually jumped to 1.5 million, according to the website.
Collins was named one of the 25 Most Influential Surfers of the Century in 1999 by Surfer magazine. In 2008, he was inducted into the Surfers’ Hall of Fame.
The Association of Surfing Professionals said on its website that Collins had been instrumental “in developing the best event windows for the world’s best surfers to perform in.”
He learned about sailing aboard his father’s 50-foot boat.
“My favorite part of racing was bringing the boat back,” he said on his website. “We could take our time and search out surf spots.”
Collins is survived by his wife, Daren, and two sons, Tyler and A.J.; his mother, two brothers and a sister.