On Friday September 1, 2017 Mr. Robert Palmer passed away from complications from the West Nile virus. Robert was a founding member of the Long Beach Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation holding positions on the executive committee since chapter inception. He was the chapter chairman for many years, leading countless meetings, speaking engagements, and public events.
Robert founded the Sink the Breakwater project for Surfrider back in 1996. For 21 years he persistently worked to bring waves back to Long Beach, the city in which he lived, raised his family, and ran his private business. He was at his core an optimist with seemingly unlimited patience. Despite being ridiculed and ignored, Robert and his fellow volunteers persisted in their public education and outreach efforts and by 2005, both the public and city leaders came to think that waves might one day grace our shores. The project is currently being studied by the US Army Corps of Engineers and has full support from City Hall.
In addition to the breakwater, Robert worked tirelessly to clean the beaches of Long Beach. He began with a monthly 30 minute beach cleanup on Granada Avenue and ended up co-hosting four weekend cleanups per month with different volunteer organizations. He’s hosted more beach cleanups than anyone in Long Beach sometimes hosting two on the same day. After seeing so much trash on the beach, he became politically active, successfully lobbying to ban single use plastic bags in Long Beach, which was a critical step in banning them State wide. He has worked over the years with various city administrations to implement a citywide ban on disposable Styrofoam from restaurants and this ordinance is likely to pass in late 2017.
Robert was a surfer, sailor, motor cyclist, artist, teacher, businessman, environmental activist, husband, and father. His tireless efforts and his presence in Long Beach was a blessing and he will be truly missed.
A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 9, at Bay Shore Community Congregational Church, 5100 E. The Toledo, with a reception to follow. A paddle out in memory of Robert will be held on Saturday September 16 at 11:30AM between the Belmont Pier and the Belmont Pool.
To make a donation to Surfrider Foundation in honor of Robert Palmer, click here.