Friday, April 20 , 2018, 7:26 pm | Fair 59º

 
 
 
 

Local News

A Final Wave for Beach-Stabbing Victim Robert Simpson

Friends, family and surfers gather for a memorial paddle-out at Arroyo Burro Beach

It was an overcast Saturday morning in Santa Barbara, with a heavy cloud of sadness that hung in the air at Arroyo Burro Beach, the site of the April 15 slashing death of Robert “Bobby I” Simpson.

Family, friends and a contingent of local surfers were on hand to pay tribute to the fallen surfer.

A makeshift altar was set up with memorabilia, and smudge sticks were burned.

A crowd of more than 300 gathered on the beach, hugged and greeted one another — many still emotionally shaken by the passing of a local favorite.

More than 70 surfers, kayakers and stand-up surfers braved the morning chill to participate in a traditional “paddle-out” to form a circle with their boards. Some of the mourners spread flowers within the circle.

Three flares were shot into the sky, and members of the group bowed their heads in silence for a moment before several members shouted out hoots often heard by surfers when catching a good wave.

For many, the gathering provided some closure. For Bobby I, it was his last wave.

— John Conroy is a contributing photographer for Noozhawk.

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