Like many other San Diegans I spent a gorgeous Sunday morning yesterday at the beach: surfing, hanging with friends, and soaking up some sun. It was one of those classic days that everyone who lives here cherishes.
Before heading home, I did a quick check of InstaGram and in an instant had my world turned upside down. By now many of you reading this will already know of the unfortunate fate of our beloved Sofia Tiare Bartlow, whose body left this physical realm yesterday in an auto accident, though her unstoppable spirit will live on for eternity.
I read and re-read the posts and comments, just trying to make sense of it all, but it just didn't seem real. She was just too strong for a mere car crash to take her out.
These clips are from a 2013 Coalition of Surfing Clubs contest at Tourmaline in Pacific Beach. My good buddy Glen and I were deejaying, and somehow the mic ended up with this crazy-in-a-great-way blonde whom neither of us had never seen before. She soon had the crowd in stitches, and we developed a fast rapport between her announcing and our choice of tunes. It was surely one of the most memorable events ever held at the old Surfing Park.
This quote from Sophia says it all, and should go down in history:
"We're not complaining about the waves here, we are riding them, in our joy. Enjoy, everybody, in joy."
I spent some time with her over that weekend and discovered that not only was she an amazing personality with a brilliant sense of humor (not to mention incredible surfing talents), but that she was also an incredibly caring human being with a background in anthropology, and she had a genuine, deeply held passion for helping make this world a better place for everyone.
If you knew Sofia, it's not difficult to imagine that she is at this very moment surfing the greatest wave ever ridden, in a place that you and I can not yet know, gazing upon all of us with that irresistibly radiant smile of hers, and then laughing up a storm just to send a few waves our way.
Ride in Peace, Sophia. See you on the other side.