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Close Encounters of
Will Dupree Borgeson

"Which posters to alt.surfing have you met, surfed, or tripped with, where and when?"
alt.surfers met-

alt.surfers surfed with-
Tim Maddux:  "I was hoping to meet Will Borgeson on one of his annual trips down this way at that time, but we didn't meet. A year later we hooked up and got classic cove waves, fairly uncrowded, on New Year's Day, 1997."

Robert Taylor:  "I've surfed with Will Borgeson on a number of occasions, including some magical days back in the summer of '84 at Horseshoe Cove on UC's Bodega Bay Marine Lab where surfing is now banned. The first (and for years the only) picture I had of me surfing was on a gorgeous barrel of a wave of the day at that spot. I got it and Will didn't!  Neener, neener. 

I've surf tripped with Ric Harwood on his island and on my mainland. He and I drove deep into Will Borgeson country in Rocktober '98, and surfed an epic point on one of the biggest days I've ever been in the water. We drove for hours with Will through two counties and camped out in his driveway, but since Will was in his own bed I guess it doesn't count as a surftrip with Will. Similarly when he comes to Rincon and I sleep in my own bed. 

Ric Harwood:  "In October that year (1998) I made a trip to California where I met: Steve Hull, Tauras, surfed with: Gioni Pasquinelli, Jeff, John Airey, Will Borgeson, and tripped with Tim Maddux and again with Robert Taylor."

Steve Lange:  "I surfed with him @ Haskell's."

Tom Keener:  "...On that same bike trip, I stopped in at Bodega Bay and met Will Borgeson. He gave me a great tour of the institute there, then we hit the surf for a chilly session."

alt.surfers tripped with-

R.I.P. - Feb. 7, 2002

BORGESON, Will Dupree Died February 7, 2002. Born February 14, 1947 in San Francisco. Survived by his wife Susan; children Erin, Kelly, Bonnie, and Lily, brother Jess, sister Erika, granddaughter Ava and many loving relatives and friends. Will loved the ocean and worked 27 years at the Bodega Marine Lab. Family and friends will gather for a memorial on Saturday, February 16 at the Bodega Marine Lab, 2099 Westside Road in Bodega Bay, 12 to 1 p.m. Reception follows from 2 to 5 p.m. to toast Willís life.

Donations for Memorial marker in lieu of flowers can be sent to:

Will Borgeson Memorial Fund
1911 Amy Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Published in the Press Democrat on 2/13/2002.

You may also share your feelings with family and friends at the Press Democrat's Funeral Notices Guest Book.

Date: 13 Feb 2002 21:54:23 -0800
From: Erin  Borgeson  Wallen <e_wallen@yahoo.com>
Newsgroups: alt.surfing
Subject: Re: A Sad Message - Will Borgeson

To all the alt.surfing folks out there who knew my dad or knew of him thru surfing and/or this group:

It's touching and somehow comforting to know that there are so many of you out there thinking and remembering him and his passion for surfing and a good debate. He was unique. It's hard to believe he'll never call me up to rave about the "dialed-in" meal he had after blazing up Highway 1 to surf Secrets, Mistos or P.A.

There are so many questions without answers. I just have to believe that wherever he is, he's at peace now.

Like he said in the note he left,

Adios to all. 

~ Erin -- Will's eldest daughter

via email to AS Points on 2/8:
Will Borgeson, long time alt.surfing participant, died on February 7, 2002.  Will was well known up here in Northern CA for his love of surfing and his activism and especially his love for Our Mother Ocean. He was a great guy, one of a kind, and he will be missed. (See Marina's extensive posting to surfermag.com message forum and cross-posted to the alt.surfing's Close Encounters page here.)
- acqua.marina (Marina  Andriola)

Update from Tim Maddux on 2/10:
I spoke on the phone with the younger sister of Will's widow a short while ago. There isn't any more detail to give at this time; she told me that the obituary hasn't yet been written and the memorial service
is still tentative, at this time to be at the Bodega Marine Lab where he worked for the past 27 years.

I'll keep the group posted on this, if anyone is interested in attending they can also email me and I'll forward on what I receive from the family.

If anyone wants to send flowers, I have an address to which they can be sent; email me. His family hasn't specifically requested that we donate to a particular charity in lieu of flowers.  Perhaps we as a group can come up with an alternative.
- Tim

Postings from the alt.surfing community

It isn't about the points, it is about the person.  I never met Will in person, but exchanged many messages on alt.surfing and via email.  Will was particularly helpful and encouraging in planning and preparing for my family's trip to France three summers ago.  He shared his first hand experience and provided many suggestions in traveling around France, in particular the SW region, from surf spots to cuisine to types of cars we should try to rent.  I am only sorry not to have been able to thank him in person.  RIP on the big wave of paradise.
- Rod Rodgers 2-9-02

Say it ain't so, Will............
Good Surfing to You and R.I.P., water brother.
- Bud Williams

I've never felt like I should have much to say about someone that I hadn't really met, at a time like this. But jeez, Will Borgenson. He seemed like a very intelligent individual with class and grace.
- SurffOhio

WoW SHOCKER....holysmokes....Sorry to hear that... R.I.P. water brother
- SurfSarge

this is very sad, if true. i hope it's not.  i couldn't find any word of it on the net.
- lp

Why, why, why ?
The legacy of suicide.
The unanswered question.
So sad.
Bad day all around.

I've had Jackson Browne's "Song For Adam" running through my head since I read the news.
- Rico

What a tragedy. A truly sad day for AS. My condolences to his friends and family.  May it be 6 foot and glassy wherever you are Will.
- OBsurfr

aargh. Will was one of the first A.Sers I met in person. Truely inspirational, a good man to know, and I wish I knew him better.  I'll break out a good bottle of Port for ya, Will.
- Tom Keener

Will, RIP water brother. My next wave will be for you.
- Gamivia Duke, Esq.

Bullshit. i don't know will personally, but i've talked to him enough to know... or at least hope to God know... that he wouldn't do something like this. i can't see him leaving his daughter or the rest of his family like that. 

Plus, there is nothing in the santa rosa press democrat about it... no obit or anything and if he did do such an act, there would have been some report of it. i'm currently checking the Bodega Bay paper online to see if there's anything. i hope not. shit... can't get the page to load.

If it is true.... then fuck.... it can't be true.

That's just crazy. well, where ever you are will, thanks for all the local knowledge you shared over the years. i definitely appreciate it and have used some of it. i'm sure the right point was going off today. it was definitely big up here today. offshores were blowing and the beaches north of town were spitting hollow closeouts at about 8 to 10 feet. spent time in the water, but not surfing. haven't played in the shorebreak since i was a kid. i soaked up the water and the warm rays and thought of you.

I'll be surfing the right for you soon enough.
-  DaRat

We like to say that alt.surfing is not life; That a lot of what goes on is just "personalities" and "personas," which is true, but we can't forget there are actually *real* people behind the messages.  If we're lucky enough, we may eventually met the people for real, and reconcile the persona with the reality.  In this case, I just have to go on the ascii-interpretation:  As I recall, I think Will would have been a good person to meet; I regret I won't have that opportunity.

We've had alt.surfers who have married, who have had children, who have had tragedies that strike
close to home, and, now, I think this is the first *credible* death of an alt.surfer that I know of.

No, alt.surfing is not real life, but sometimes, it comes pretty close.
RIP, Will.
- Steve M

Eric, I'm with you - in disbelief. But I'd have to caution that we have no idea what private agonies could have tormented Will. No matter how good anyone's life looks on the outside, inside is another matter. We're all capable of escaping those internal demons by ending our lives.

Will was a class act, and I've missed his presence here in alt. surfing.  Let's hope it isn't true.

Uncle (No. 9): thanks for filling in a lot of gaps in our knowledge of Will's interests. He's much more fascinating than I imagined. I had my chance to meet him for a sesh, and didn't follow through; I fgured that we'd do it some day, anyway. I'll regret that for a long time.

Will's departure leaves a big hole in the lives of his loved ones, in our lives, and in the world.

I won't be able to look a clam in the eye without thinking of Will.
- wolf

I hope this isn't true.  If not, Happy Birthday Will, a few days early.  His birthday is(was) Feb. 14th.

If it is true, as you once said about Rick Griffin (replied to my inquiries on Griffin), you will be missed on this planet.
- Joanne VanMeter

I'm just stunned. For years I always enjoyed Will's different take on things and his robust outlook on life, food, and wine. We exchanged a few messages over the years about travel and New Orleans cuisine and I always felt he would be an excellent person to meet, surf and have a good meal with.  Should this prove to be true, it is a very sad day.
- Foon :(

I remember the last time that I heard Will post to alt.surfing... it was February 6th, 2001..and as Joanne wrote so very movingly of, he mentioned in it that his birthday was February 14th...I was so glad
he wanted us to know when his birthday was...it was so beautiful, what he wrote...I never dreamed it would be the last post from him in a year:

To add on to what others have written...it's just not possible to think this can be true. I remember Will speaking last year with incredible stoke & enthusiasm of participating in triathalons, and about Spain & France (1999 link here).....and playing guitar, ...stoked about his daughter surfing, playing/performing music with his daughter, surfing in Kaua'i while visiting his sister....not to mention the always incredible camping trips & always celebrating life with much gusto & class & with good food & wine (as others have mentioned, so very well)....everytime I read a 'Will' post, I want to dive into the ascii & join along with he & his family on those wonderful adventures.

I'm also thinking of how often alt.surfers have spoken of Will in their posts this year, hoping to bring Will back to posting to A.S...and Tim Maddux's great update about him circa a few months back. So very, very, very clear how profoundly his presence has been missed here.

At the same time, I know that what Wolf has said above is true & spoken with wisdom...sometimes this does most heartbreakingly happen, for reasons that we can't even begin to know of.

I've been keeping a candle of hope burning here next to me the past 15 hours & will keep it burning non-stop, along with maintaining the utmost of positive thoughts that we will find this not to be true!!!

When I think of Will, I always think of Joie de Vivre & Living Life To The Fullest!

Please, may we all learn very soon, that Most Noble Surfer Will, is Safe & Very OK,

Kind Be The Winds To Thee Always,
- Dee Dee

Man, I sure hope this is not true. Will always struck me as someone you could just sit down and talk with. I mean real talk. He just seemed like an all around good guy. Should it be true, I am praying the pain he felt is now gone and he is finally at peace.........
- Todd
"I wish, I wish, I wish I were a fish"

My God.  Like everyone else, I hope this is not true.

He was an established alt.surfer when I joined the fray back in the day.  Will's trips to Kauai always intrigued me.  He got in tight with Titus and the boys, which is like getting a VIP pass to the best club in town.  Who can forget his strong opinions on Dora too.

I'll definitely catch one for him today.
- Neal Miyake  (sponge)

How very sad...my thoughts are with all who knew him and loved him.
- glenda

Why? What a fuckin waste!
My sincerest condolences to his friends and family and the ones he left
behind.  Hopefully, Will, you have found peace.
- Andy

...My heart goes out to Will too.  I hope you are in a better place.
- John. Ferguson

If true, this would indeed be horrible. Will and Carson weren't exactly chummy (actually, that could be said about Carson and just about everyone else in here), but it is nonetheless still very disturbing to hear.  Why anyone could feel so depressed as to take their life is something that Carson hopes to never comprehend.
- S. Carson Rhodes

Man... I am numbed. Of all the guys I have conversed with in alt.surfing Will is the last person I thought would check out this way. The guy had so much going on, a full life, you know.

Will and I talked quite a bit about cars instead of surfing... (click here for the remainder of Rick's extensive post)
- no 9 (Rick Ciccacio)

   R.I.P. WB

All I can write is that I am stunned, too. While I never had the pleasure of meeting him personally, I did communicate with Will via emails occasionally.  I enjoyed his posts.

As for suicide, so many people I've known have done this. And I agree with Andy, what a fricking waste of life. Surfing gives me reasons to live.

Be that as it may, requiescat in pace,  Will. And blessings to Will's family and friends.
- Craig Kemnitz

This is shocking, very sad news. I have always enjoyed Will's posts for their surf knowledge and deep appreciation of the marine environment. I traded a handful of emails with him about his writing career and other things, and admired and respected his achievements in and out of the water.

I'll miss your presence here, Will, and I'm sure everyone who knew you in person will as well. I can only hope you're riding perfect waves somewhere.

-jw (john webster)

It was a pain in the butt swimming out that day but I it was early in the winter season and I was not in mid-season shape...but no way that wasn't a pretty decent swell.

No doubt if my mind starts turning into jello pudding that I reserve the right to say enough.  My dad had cancer and checked out a few days early, I think.  When someone who has lived a full life decides that
it's enough, it's sad.  When someone who is still college age like my wife's cousin kills himself it's a disaster.

It's a tragedy when someone mistakes a short-term problem that would lead to greater wisdom, if lived through, as a reason for suicide. I hope that wasn't the case.  I didn't know Will and I wish I had.

- george_of_the_jungle

I've not been on the group as I needed a break from the "noise".

I just heard this news from Dave Blake whilst surfing some juicy peaks at Ocean Beach.  Just as he said that Will was gone, a beautiful A-frame came that we split.

Will seemed like a decent guy.  I needled him about his Dora rant and always took the bait with humor. Hard to know what it going through the head of someone living the life that most only dream of.  I hope his family comes through this OK.

Life is for the living. Keep on surfing no matter what.
- Jeff (kdalle)

I didn't think this was true, so I called his work and it's true, he died last Thursday.   I didn't ask for details since the person who answered the phone was quite upset to have to tell me.

got nothing to add right now,
- Mike Sullivan

(Aloha Tom,) 
I never knew Will other then what I have read on the NG............He usually was spot on with his comments and you knew you were getting a real opinion........not some convoluted profile. If he decided to step over the horizon I respect whatever his reasons were to do it. Takes a lot of guts to approach that part of the path.

Truly an interesting concept...........one that I hope never to negotiate with myself over. Yet I have been touched with its realness. Slightly when I was 16 when I was told that my father (a man I had last seen at age 2) had committed suicide due to complications with his liver from drinking too much of the white-mans whiskey. Then last March 3rd when my mother decided that she no longer wanted to deal with the pain that 25 years of smoking wreaked upon her body. She took the family by surprise on that one. Suicide is a very personal matter with one's self..............the only victims are those left behind..........wondering.

I hope Will found his peace.
Ride Well,
- Denny Waller

I knew Will through the internet bulletin board know as "alt.surfing."  We exchanged a few emails over the years.  Will had my total respect. I'll greatly miss his reasoned
wit and intellect.
- John Tallon (Carlsbad, CA ) 

Although I never got the chance to meet Will in person, I enjoyed the communication we shared through alt.surfing.  You will be missed!
- Myron Ware (Newport News, VA )

 From: Surfer Bob (rtaylor@geog.ucsb.edu)
 Subject: Will Borgeson as I knew him (long) 
 Newsgroups: alt.surfing
 Date: 2002-02-14 15:09:54 PST 

Dear AS crew,

It's been several days since Tim Maddux called me with the bad and
scarcely believable news: Will Borgeson took his own life. I'm
shocked, disappointed and profoundly sad.

Read rest of the post here.  Read a follow-up post by SurferBob in August 2004.

SB (surfer bob) -

Thanks so much for filling in so many of the holes in our understanding of Will's life. Between reading what you've posted here today, and re-reading his old posts in many newsgroups, and what uncle 9 wrote a few days ago, and the old saved e-mails from him - I feel like I know Will a bit better now.

I regret that I passed on the opportunity to get to know him better. We were going to meet up on the Oregon Coast for a few days of surfing, camping, music. I found reasons to pass on that trip - plenty of time to do it later.... There's a lesson in that.

To his family and to his friends, I wish to extend my deepest condolences. There are a rose and an attached note floating out beyond the break at the Point. They went out on the the tide change today,
pushed by a gentle offshore breeze.

The note (laminated for longevity), says:

Will Borgeson
Car Buff

Dropped in 2/14/1947
Kicked out 2/07/2002

May you walk on water, Will.
- wolf
Carpe Flucti (seize the waves)

Thanks for sharing.

Aloha, Will.

Date: 26 Feb 2002 22:30:40 -0800
From: "Timothy B. Maddux" <tbmaddux@nylon.engr.ucsb.edu>
Newsgroups: alt.surfing
Subject: Will Borgeson's Memorial

I didn't make it up to Will's memorial.  I'm forwarding this on from Dale Webster, who did go:

Aloha Tim!

Somehow I'm not surprised that you knew Will Borgeson. I've been his friend for over 26 years and we surfed together many times. I always admired Will.  A surfer that used his brain. Is it just me or is this rare?

Will was a marine biologist in love with the sea! He loved to share his knowledge and stoke! He showed me what he called "The Web of Life", the miracle and the balance the fragile ecosystem we take for granted. It was a sad day when news of his passing made its way to his stunned friends. I 
had waved to him in passing just the day before. I felt the "Big Chill".

All week long I felt his presence at different places where I would normally see him. Sitting out on my board, I remembered all the good times we had shared on the Sonoma Coast. I know it's wrong to compare yourself to others. There is no comparison. Will was a great writer! Every time a restaurant or
fish market would state they were serving "Red Snapper" you could count on a letter to the editor from Will correcting them with the difference between rock cod and red snapper.

The morning of Will's memorial the waves were good sized. I went surfing. A huge wave came in I caught it and said out loud "Will! This wave is for you!" I rode it in and then went home to get ready for his services. I made a lei out of daffodils and brought my surf gear, too. I figured some of the mourners might paddle out at Horseshoe cove. Will had taken me surfing at the cove many times, despite it being off limits to the general public. That restriction was a bone of contention between Will and other surfers - a perfect wave that they can't ride. Many surfers resented Will for that.

I expected to see about 100 friends at the memorial. I was pleasantly surprised to see the crowd of 400 or so friends and coworkers who showed up to remember Will, an amazing character. It was good to get together.  Everyone seemed to know a different version of the same guy. Will's younger brother was in charge of the services and kept it light hearted. Speaker after speaker spoke of Will's love of the Sea and how he shared his knowledge.  They spoke of his love of food and cooking, his love of family and fast cars (especially old BMWs). We were laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time. And we were being watched. Will had designed and built the huge aquariums built into the walls. Every kind of rock fish you could name along with steelhead, and king and silver salmon were all looking out at us.  Will had caught and stocked all the fish and fed them 7 days a week. One of the speakers did the math. For almost 30 years, Will had given tours of the Bodega Bay Marine Lab, and set up aquariums at the mall and at fairs. Will liked to include a "feelie tank" so that students of all ages could see and feel the sea life that Will loved so much. They added it up... 250,000 students served!  I loved the stories of Will saying he was going out for lunch and in no time at all he would come back with a couple of abalone, some scallops, sea urchin and mussels and maybe a fish to go along with 
the oysters and lobsters he raised. Before you know it, Will would have a feast cooked, steamed boiled  and/or served raw.

We listened as speakers recalled the tales. I heard that Will had visited friends in France and taught them things they didn't know about their country or the time he helped a coworker's mother with her Spanish homework or the times he saved an unknown specimen to share with other scientists.I did a word search on his name and found stories I almost forgot- The time Will got laws signed to protect the state fish  the Garibaldi from  collectors ,and a tome a fisherman brought in a huge octopus to study.

We watched the waves dance outside the window. We took a break and I saw a group of surfers getting ready for a paddle out. I raced around the corner, ripped on my wetsuit and ran back to the circle of friends. The waves were pumping - over 10 foot by anyone's measurement. We said some words, made some noise and splashed as we served up our lei and flower offerings. Naturally a huge
set started to pour in as we scrambled for the point. Before I knew it, everyone caught a wave in, and I was left alone, outside. When I heard the crowd on the cliff, I saw a set. I scampered for the take off zone that Will had showed me and took off in the reform that turned into a wave with a smoking shoulder! I shot along the rocks just staying with the wave right in the curl. When I cleared the rocks and made it to white sand, I pulled a flyaway kick out and heard hoots from all the people on shore. I got out and noticed one of Will's surfboards, a 9-0 Campbell Brothers. I smiled my approval and got dressed.

Back inside for the banquet part of the services, Will's daughter played "Dust in the Wind" on the guitar. Will's brother told us that Will didn't believe in God or heaven but if either existed, he would help us from the other side.  I met Acqua's husband's partner from Hog Island Oyster Co. and he and another friend remarked how Will shared his knowledge of raising oysters from small seed.

Will once wrote a three part story for Surfer called "Vicious Fishes". It was about the critters that you'ld never want to step on! Yet another tale was told about someone who lived in Sacramento calling and asking Will to recommend a good sushi restaurant. A few minutes later Will sent over a list of two small, authentic fresh sushi restaurants around.  And what to order 

At the end of the service, a collection was taken for a memorial plank. It felt good to meet and talk with Will's friends and family. To put his loss in perspective: 

Awaken the Will within and carry on!

- Dale Webster

AS Points Log:  I have...
... met the following ASers ...surfed with these ASers ...traveled with these ASers
Ric Harwood
Robert Taylor
Steve Lange
Tim Maddux
Tom Keener
x1 point = 5 x 2 points =  x3 points =
0 points 10 points 0 points

Point totals: 10

Forward your Close Encounters to the Close Encounters Points Keeper .

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