Florida Surf Community Mourns Loss of Young Father and Firefighter Ethan Wilson - Stab Mag

Season finale of How Surfers Get Paid drops Thursday, 5pm PT


Florida Surf Community Mourns Loss of Young Father and Firefighter Ethan Wilson

Rest in Power.

elsewhere // Feb 6, 2023
Words by Ashton Goggans
Reading Time: 2 minutes

On Wednesday morning, 33-year-old Ethan Wilson — a local pillar in the New Smyrna and Ormond Beach surf communities, a respected firefighter, and new father — was found floating facedown next to his board, just a few minutes after friends had seen him bobbing happily in the lineup, like every other session they’d shared.

“We haven’t heard anything definitive,” Kevin Miller of the Florida Surf Film Festival says. “A couple people I talked to who were surfing next to him said he was fine one second and then two minutes later he was lying face down in the water. I was about to paddle out and I saw five or six people helping him toward the beach. I ran and got somebody to bring the lifeguard, and watched them work on him for twenty minutes.”

According to the Daytona Beach News Journal, “Bystanders pulled Wilson to shore where the off-duty firefighter performed CPR on him before he was transported to AdventHealth Hospital in New Smyrna Beach.”

“They got his heart beating with a pacemaker, and eventually did a CAT scan,” Miller says. “No significant brain activity at all.”

The Florida surf community rallied around Wilson’s family almost immediately, raising more than $80,000 to cover his growing medical bills through a GoFundMe Ethan’s brother-in-law Bryon White set up immediately after the incident, as Ethan’s condition remained unclear.

“I have known Ethan since he was 14,” writes Bryon. “To know him is to love him. Those who know Ethan know he is the most kind and gentle soul one could ever hope to meet. Aside from being an avid outdoorsman, a surfer and fisherman, Ethan has a beautiful family – his wife, Ashley and his infant son, Coast. Whether you know him from the brewery, CrossFit, the beach, or the firehouse – he’s probably put a smile on your face.”

However, on Saturday it became clear that Ethan wouldn’t be waking up, and the decision was made to remove Ethan from life support and allow him one more act of generosity, saving multiple lives through the donation of his living organs.

“We are deeply saddened with the news of Ethan Wilson’s passing,” the Daytona Boardriders posted to Instagram last night, following a massive outpouring of support, fundraising, and love at Saturday night’s Florida Surf Film Festival, as attendees earned of Ethan’s death. “As Americans, it is our duty to love and care for the ones who have suffered from a tragic loss, we need to be there to help in any way we can. Last night at the @flsurffilmfest was a pure example of the community coming together to share this love and we would like to thank all the people for coming out for Ethan. He may not have been part of our club but he was part of this community and that’s all that matters!”

According to the DBNJ, “In a statement Sunday, officials with the City of Ormond Beach said Wilson was a dedicated member of the Ormond Beach Fire, a loving father and husband, and friend to all who knew him. “Wilson was a firefighter/paramedic with Ormond Beach since 2018, said city spokeswoman Jenn Elston.”

“His passing is a tremendous loss for our department, as well as for the entire Ormond Beach community.”

Rest in Power, Ethan Wilson.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent


Fancy An Ale, Some Good Music, And A Bunch Of Tubes?

Ballet's minimalist full-length will satiate your needs.

Mar 22, 2023

João Chianca Spent Seven Years On The QS Without A Sponsor

And look where he is now.

Mar 22, 2023

Take Stab’s 2023 Audience Survey, Win A 3-Board Quiver

Stab towels and Premium subscriptions also up or grabs.

Mar 21, 2023

Jessi Miley Dyer On The New Challenger Series Schedule And More

Did you know that you could miss the mid-year cut and still theoretically win the…

Mar 20, 2023


Don’t Miss The Last Wave Of The First 2023 SEOTY Entry

Jacob Willcox's ‘Into Dust’ demands your pupils.

Mar 20, 2023

Warren Smith on New Welcome Rivers Range and Buying Jaguars on Facebook Marketplace  

Now available in the Antipodes...

Mar 20, 2023


Wavegarden Spills How The Sausage Is Made

BTS of their global air wave rollout ft. Yago Dora, Dion Agius, Reef Heazlewood and…

Mar 18, 2023

Minds, Machines, And The Magic Of Hands

How modern shapers split their time between designing files and hand-finishing boards.

Mar 18, 2023


Are Hectic Lefts The Final Finless Frontier?

William Aliotti is on the right-foot-forward fringes.

Mar 17, 2023

Watch: Luke + Eddie

A mostly unknown, on-duty lifeguard won the most prestigious big-wave event in history. How Luke…

Mar 17, 2023


A Pipe Master, Ryan Burch, And Some Pickle Forks On The Eastern Seaboard

This one ticks a lot of boxes

Mar 16, 2023

Brazil Has A Talent Problem

And three other things we learned from the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

Mar 16, 2023


Mick Fanning On A Unicorn, Bags Of Dicks, And A Shocking Script Read By Surfing’s Biggest Stars

Vaughan Blakey and Nick Pollet on their outrageous film, 'The Greatest Surf Movie In The…

Mar 15, 2023

Italo Ferreira Caught 63 Waves In An Hour

And other stats from our Stab in the Dark production.

Mar 15, 2023


Can A Freesurfer Go The Other Way? A Dakoda Walters Case Study

The 57-kilo Aussie has taken a Stab High approach to traditional contest surfing.

Mar 15, 2023

Caity Simmers And João Chianca Fulfill Respective Prophecies Under Gaze Of Portuguese President

A very good day of competitive surfing.

Mar 14, 2023

Kelly And Steph Are In Trouble

What's a GOAT gotta do to make the cut around here?

Mar 14, 2023


“I Used To Only Surf Here With One Guy…His Name’s Henry, And He’s A Seal”

A contemplation on the frigid desolation of Iceland.

Mar 14, 2023