Saturday, April 17, 2010

Brother Ben Morris, RIP

Some of you might remember the board I had custom shaped for Ben called the “Cosmic Glyder”. I spoke to Ben’s older bro John on Friday 4/17/10 and received sad news that Ben had passed away on Weds 4/14/10.

Ben showed up out of the blue one day in September 2009 to order a new stick, it’s rare that I get walk in customers as my shop is located in an industrial complex. Most everyone that orders a custom shape are referrals and by appointment. Upon answering the door, I was surprised to see Ben standing there in all his glorious hair! Full on out grown brown beard and long shoulder length brown hair. He looked like the biblical images of Jesus we’ve all seen. I blinked my eyes and thought to myself, “Jesus has come along way to order a stick. What a trip.”

Ben mentioned he just returned from surfing in Costa Rica and was referred to me by another guy riding one of my custom shapes. As he was describing what he was looking for in a design and where he wanted to go with his surfing I sensed he was on a mission to enlighten his surf experience and some how I was chosen as someone to assist him on his journey.

(At this time I am not sure who Ben met and spoke with during his trip in Costa Rica. Please email me if you are the person or know who the person is. Thank you)

Through his eagerness and open mind and willingness to learn with his quick whit and straight-faced humor, I nicknamed Ben “Toru” thinking of the character that Chris Farley played in the comedy film “Beverly Hills Ninja”. I came to find out later the correct characters name was “Haru”, but “Toru” stuck. (The name Toru was on my mind at the time as I was shaping a board for another customer named Toru. lol.) He would call me “Sensei”. It was our joke.

Ben appeared to be extremely healthy and very fit and in good spirits during the short time spent with him designing boards. Not once did he mention he was sick or was not feeling well. Always the wry guy with a straight faced humor, I later found out that he was fighting later stages of skin cancer. At the time I met Ben he was already 3 years into the fight. During our time spent designing and shaping he was only a few months away from succumbing to the disease. I had no idea of his condition, as he was always in good spirits. Ben’s spirit will always be an inspiration to me.

Ben Morris. A Son, Brother, Friend, and Teacher. I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

Godspeed my friend, you will be missed.

Benny loved the rainbow.and he took the pic of that rainbow and said all day every day.


  1. very sad to hear of such a young man's passing; the board is completely unique and memorable as I am sure he was as well; kind thoughts and prayers to those who knew and loved him

  2. Wayne
    thanks for sharing Bens story i will say a prayer and catch a Wave for him on my first go out after my surgery tomorow, RIP Ben

  3. Wayne,

    This is Ben's brother John. He loved you and had ultimate respect for your talent, vision and shaping expertise. He really wanted to ride this board but never had a chance as the cancer got too much for him. Ben told me this share this board with all my surf crew and I will.

    When we spread his ashes off the Oregon coast, I will be paddling this board out.

    Ben died with his spirit soaring, he was ready to get over that rainbow. He embodied the aloha spirit and even learned how to play the ukulele his last couple of months with us.

    Thanks for sharing his story Wayne and thanks for all the kind words posted here.


  4. wayne,
    i'm a friend of ben and wanted to thank you for your beautiful words. i love hearing how he touched others the same way he impacted me.
    i'm also so moved by the kind hearts of the strangers hearing his story and their thoughts for those of us blessed enough to have known him.
    blessings and thanks to you all.

  5. Hi John,
    It was a blessing to have met Ben, always so stoked and positive, I could tell he savoured every moment and took nothing for granted. His memory will always impact me, in the short time I had with Ben we were like old friends.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


    Please, please, all of us spend alot of time out in the sun. Take all the precautions for UV protection, if you have any quesionable moles or spots get it checked out by a dermatologist. I can't stress this enough. Early detection!!

  6. Hey John, My name is Scott, we surfed together in Costa Rica at WRSC, I am so sorry to hear about your brother Ben. My families thoughts and prayers go out to him. He was definately a blessed individual and will be missed. I am glad that I we crossed paths and was able to share some beautiful sessions with him in CR and introduce him to Oakfoil Surfboards while we surf together. He obviously was able to enlighten other lives as he did mine.


  7. The value of things are measured in imperfect metrics. I knew Ben for a very short time; I dare say that an acquaintance of a week would hardly qualify as meaningful for most. But a week in the life of a man with so few weeks left to live? I cant help but feel flattered that he took a moment of his precious time to listen to my pedantic waxings. I probably complained to him about how little time I had, or bragged about my ability to prioritize the things in life that are truly important.

    Death is a mystery, but a certainty. Importantly, when life provided Ben with definitive proof of his mortality, he rose above skin and bones and shared with us a beautiful spirit while he was alive. He lead me to beleive that we´d surf together again; I cant thank him enough for misguiding me.

    When I offered him a job working with me in NY, I beleived him when he said "I´m on a different path now". I reminded him there was surf here-few knew just how good, I opined. He didnt seem convinced.

    Ben, I consider you as good a friend as any. And I do beleive theres another session out there for us to enjoy together.



  8. Johnny and Scott,
    So good to see your posts up here. Thanks again Wayne for providing the boards that linked us all back together.

    We all had a blast in CR...great waves, good laughs, and the pura vida spirit.

    Next session think of Ben, he will send you an amazing wave to ride.

    Ben's brother,


  9. Skipped work today and paddled out for Ben. There was a Ben look-a-like in the lineup and conditions were great.I ended the day hitting golf balls and discussing philosophy with a friend. Ive decided if Ben cant be with us I´ll have to live a little more like he would. Sadly, my late stage male pattern baldness precludes me from growing the signature Christ look and wigs are uncomfortable and unpopular in the lineup.

    John, get out East soon for a session. I´ll make my way out to Oregon, potentially as soon as this summer.


  10. I would like to thank Kevin from NJ that was on the CR trip and remembered Ben and helped me piece all the people together. The older I get the world is becoming smaller.

    Johnny, thank you for taking the time to post your experiences with Ben, like most everyone that had an opportunity to have met Ben, he has touched all of us in a special way.


  11. So yesterday I took the cosmic glyder out for the first time. It was 2-3 feet but peaking and clean. I really can describe what a phenomenal board this is. I can say that after every ride I just kept telling Benny what a sweet board he got from Wayne. Literally, I was giggling like a grom after each wave because I could ride the waves so many different ways. At one point, I actually hung five off the nose! This board can take it's sweet time or it can blast like a torpedo over the white water.

    another surfer thought i was knee boarding till I popped and was racing down the line! He said he would just hang it on the wall over the fire place. I said, the session I just had warrants this peice of art to be in the water as much as possible.

    Wayne, you have created a masterpiece with this board. This is the best board by far I have ever ridden.

    Not sure if your taking orders for this one but people will love it man.

    John Morris

  12. John, Stoked you are enjoying the ride! I can visualize Benny's smiling upon each of your rides. I am open for orders if anyone is interested. Just takes some time as even though the board is small theres alot of hidden volume and quite abit of detail going on through out the entire shape.