Surfing pioneer Dorian 'Doc' Paskowitz dies at 93

Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz (R) holds two surf boards as he arrives on the Israeli side of the Erez crossing with the Palestinian Gaza Strip 21 August 2007. Paskowitz, who founded a Southern California surfing dynasty, has died at 93.
JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz, who traveled the world riding waves and founded a Southern California surfing dynasty, has died. He was 93.

His son, Israel, tells the Los Angeles Times that Paskowitz died Monday at a Newport Beach hospice.

Born in Texas, Paskowitz began surfing in the 1930s, moved to San Diego as a child and later became a physician in Hawaii but abandoned his lucrative practice to follow the waves.

Israel gave this picture of his father to U-T San Diego:

Paskowitz, who followed a strict diet, was as anti-materialistic as he was health-obsessed: “He never owned a new car in his life,” his son said. “He never sat down and had an amazing fancy meal at Searsucker or anywhere in the world. He was so different. He followed a code of ethics."

A devout Jew, Paskowitz moved to Israel in the 1950s and helped pioneer surfing there.

Later, his third wife and nine of his 12 children lived with him in a camper as they moved around following the waves — which meant they got little formal education. Their odyssey was portrayed in the 2007 documentary "Surfwise."


"We never went to school or had a traditional upbringing but we were invested in this vision he had of the ocean and surfing," Josh Paskowitz, the youngest of Dorian's children, told KPCC's Take Two. "He was so in love with surfing he would pray for waves on Friday night. He was totally committed to being a surfer and found so much camaraderie and joy in the sport of surfing."

The younger Paskowitz said his father should be remembered for "his passion for life and people and the sport of surfing and spirit of aloha and of the Hawaiian people."

SURFER magazine, which says Paskowitz wrote dozens of health columns for them in the '70s, shared the following video tribute:


SURFER also offered a number of quotes capturing his outlook on life:


“My name is Dorian Paskowitz. I’m one of the few dumb Jewish doctors you will ever meet.”



“Health is survival . . . but survival with style and class.”

“How productive I am, how creative I am, how sociable I am, how sexy I am—all of these things improve about 25% when I go from 154 pounds to 148 pounds.”



“Death is not a stalker, always looking for us. Death is a scorekeeper tallying up how much we love life and how much we are willing to work for it. We die when we stop living.”

“It’s easier to die when you have lived, then it is to die when you haven’t. So I say to all young people, go make memories; beautiful memories. Because when the time comes to go, you won’t go alone.”

This story has been updated.