As a young doctor, Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz always felt uncomfortable taking money from sick people.
And so, in the late 1950s, he exchanged his white coat for the waves of the Pacific Ocean.
Mr Paskowitz, the eccentric patriarch of America’s “First Family of Surfing”, died this week in California, aged 93. After abandoning medicine, he had become famous for travelling the US in a 24ft camper van with his wife Juliette and their nine children.
Born in Galveston, Texas, in 1921, Mr Paskowitz learned to surf at the age of 10 and moved with his family to California soon after. He studied medicine and married twice before meeting Juliette in 1957. To fund their itinerant lifestyle, Mr Paskowitz took temporary jobs at hospitals before he began teaching surfing full time. He lived in Israel in the 1950s, and founded a surfing school in Tel Aviv in 1972. During the 1990s, he signed a sponsorship deal with fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger.
In 2007, Mr Paskowitz came to the world’s attention again when he delivered several surfboards to beleaguered Palestinian surfers. The family was immortalised in the documentary Surfwise, which presented a not entirely positive portrait of Mr Paskowitz.
His son Israel told the Los Angeles Times his father had injured his hip, but checked himself out of hospital and went back to the beach.Reuse content