The ethereal sound of a Hawaiian conch shell signaled the start of the ceremony to honor the memory of Seaside surfer Larry Loveridge on Sunday.
The trumpet-like tones floated across the cobble rock before dozens of surfers — clad in wetsuits and holding longboards, shortboards, wookies and swallow tails — fell in to a circle. Gentle voices chanted a Hawaiian hymn as curious gulls hovered overhead.
Friends, families and onlookers stood near the water, surfers in wetsuits ready to join the paddle-out to remember Loveridge, who died of heart failure on July 6. The paddle-out is a Hawaiian tradition, a final ritual at sea, and a feature of the Cove’s tightly-knit surfing community.
Alika Germano, Loveridge’s stepson, who trßaveled from the Big Island of Hawaii, said he came to support his mother, Noelani Halaholo Loveridge.
“I came to support my mom, and I loved Larry, too,” Germano said.
“Heavenly father, we thank you for this day,” Germano said. “We thank you for everybody coming and showing support for my mom, thank you for the time we had with Larry. We ask you to keep everybody safe, and these things we ask today. Amen.”
Loveridge’s good friend and the organizer of the event, Seaside’s Jeff Stover, called it a “touching moment for our brother.”
He and others have kept flowers at the Cove replenished, and organized the day’s events, which included a pig roast at the Sons of Norway lodge in Gearhart, with “shout-outs and grinds for everyone.”
Stover provided directions to surfers for the paddle-out and water ritual.
One by one, surfers paddled into the water, until a string of surfers stretched along the horizon. As their numbers swelled, onlookers could see in the distance arms raised, waters splashed and thrown toward the sky, a human wave honoring Loveridge.
Voices rang out in unison: “One, two, three: ALOHA!”