L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Surfer paddle-out celebrates the life of Junior Seau

A paddle-out in Oceanside
Several hundred surfers took part Sunday in a memorial paddle-out in the ocean in front of Junior Seau's Oceanside home to celebrate the life and mourn the passing of the football star and civic benefactor.

“Junior, Junior, Junior,” the surfers chanted, followed by “Fifty-five, fifty-five, fifty-five,” Seau’s number at USC and during 20 years in the NFL.

At one point, the surfers formed a circle and held hands while a prayer was said for Seau, who commited suicide last week at age 43.

Among the surfers was Drew Brees, who played quarterback for the San Diego Chargers while Seau was the star linebacker and emotional heart of the team. Brees now plays for the New Orleans Saints.

On the beach, hundreds of fans and well-wishers gathered while the surfers paddled out. Many brought flowers and other mementos of Seau’s long career. Hearts with Seau’s name inside were common.

Along with surfers were outrigger canoes, kayaks and a paddleboarder. An Oceanside lifeguard boat was nearby and news helicopters buzzed overhead.

“Seau brought an enthusiasm and energy to every play of every game,” said Chuck Lockett, 60, wearing a white Chargers hat and a wet-suit. "He was the reason I went to Chargers games."

Although gathered for a somber occasion, the spirit of the crowd, in the water and on the beach, was joyous. There was some sobbing but there was more cheering.

Seau was found dead Wednesday morning in his bed. The medical examiner confirmed that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. A gun was found near his body but no note.

The house next to Seau’s home had a Chargers flag hanging at half-mast. Seau was a surfer and could frequently be seen enjoying the waves in front of his home along The Strand.

The Chargers are planning a celebration of Seau’s life on Friday, at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, starting at 6:30 p.m. The parking lot opens at 2 p.m. Because a large crowd is expected, the team has suggested that people form carpools or take the San Diego trolley.

Another remembrance is planned for Saturday at Oceanside High, where Seau was a star athlete. The school’s athletic program is one of the many youth programs that benefited from Seau’s foundation that raised millions of dollars for charitable projects from 1996 to 2010.

ALSO:

Second woman raped during 'spiritual cleansing,' officials say 

14-year-old arrested in Santa Ana shooting; gang rivalry blamed 

Tot roamed O.C. parking lot while mom was on drugs, officials say 

-- Don Bartletti in Oceanside, and Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: A San Diego Chargers flag flies at half-staff as hundreds of fans and friends join a paddle-out in memory of Junior Seau. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

 

 
Comments () | Archives (0)

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.

Categories




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: