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Surfing Soapbox: Memories live on after losing friend

June 30, 2011|By James Pribram

Gregg Gaynor was one of my best friends who passed away the morning of June 21 — gone but never forgotten.

His love and devotion for his beautiful daughter was the shining diamond in his life. We became friends in 1987 when he was a lifeguard down at Pearl Street. By 1994, he was one of my best friends, and the only guy I could seemingly never beat in tennis, until one day I got him in two straight sets. Boy, did I celebrate and rub it in.

But that's how we were. First friends, then best friends and then like two competitive brothers, always verbally sparring with one another, inseparable.

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We had a special friendship. We were fiercely loyal to one another, without judgment, and I think we learned a lot from one another. He was always there for me like an older brother. Loyal to the end.

My memories of him will always be where he was happiest — down on the beach at Pearl Street, surfing, diving, paddling, body surfing. We would always exclaim to one another about "summer of '95" — that was "our" summer. I'll always remember his humor and that electric smile that could light up an entire town. He was a man I looked up to who was always willing to help anyone in a time of need.

In some ways we were like two Peter Pans — sharing our love for the beach, which will never change.

Peace.

JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and John Kelly Environmental Award winner. He can be reached at Jamo@Aloha SchoolofSurfing.com.

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