On Tuesday December 8th, 2020, Rob was attacked by a shark at Honolua Bay prior to the second day of the WSL Women’s Maui Pro Contest. The incident occurred around 7:45 am, about 20 yards offshore while paddling out from the old boat ramp and river mouth at Honolua Bay.
Despite the amazing and tireless efforts of friends on site, first responders and hospital staff, Rob succumbed to his injuries the following day. Rob is survived by his wife Tanya, his father, and four sisters.
Rob had a deep connection to the ocean. He was the type of surfer who surfed just about everyday and seized every opportunity to paddle out. No matter what the conditions, Rob would be out surfing! He was a true soul surfer! Just like his cool personality, his surf style echoed this vibe. Whether the surf was 2ft or 20ft, Rob's style was cool and relaxed. He had a style that reminded onlookers of surfers from the 70s that paved the way before us.
Showing up like clockwork (between 7:30am to 8:00am every day) earned him the nickname "Mr. 8am.” Some referred to the time as “Rob:30.”
Rob had a kind heart and super chill vibe that everyone loved. He was one of the nicest guys you could encounter and was always so gracious, with a warming smile for everyone. He would bring boxes of home grown fruit from his farm and put them in the back of our cars while we were in the water, spreading the joy and smiles around to the community with true Aloha.
Rob has been in and around Maui since the 1970s. He would tell the old stories of going down the cliff at Honolua as a teenager, wearing cleats for traction when the trails got muddy! Later in life, he told of living and surfing in South Africa, where he met his wife and dear life companion Tanya. The couple lived and ran a fishing lodge in Montana. They also lived in Mexico, surfing and running a retreat.
Rob traveled the world, surfing and spreading good chill vibes from: Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, Oregon, California, Europe, South Africa, Mauritius, Indonesia, Australia, Fiji (where Rob and Tanya were well known!) Samoa, Tahiti, and the list goes on. His love for the ocean and positive spirit will live on with all of us who knew and had the pleasure to watch Rob surf.
Everywhere He and Tanya went, they left a good impression.
Thank you for any help you are able to provide, and most importantly, your prayers. If you feel moved to donate, please leave a message or memory you have of Rob. This will give Rob’s family and friends a smile as they read the kind words. Your prayers and financial donations will help his wife Tanya in this devastating time.
We love you Rob! Our thoughts, love, prayers, and deepest aloha go out to Tanya and their families.
- Dan Bass
- adrian utsch
- Steve Meisinger
- John Comer
- Steve Meisinger
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