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Close READER POLL 2017
We promise this won't (really) hurt.

Wanna win a new surfboard? We have a custom Chilli ‘Black Vulture’ to gift (plus all the trim you’d expect from a premium dealer). To be in the running, just answer a few questions for us. It won’t take long.

Tom Carey remembers Shawn 'Barney' Barron

This afternoon, news broke that one of surfing's greatest characters, Shawn 'Barney' Barron, has passed away following a reported heart attack, aged 44. Stab photographer Tom Carey was close with the Santa Cruz legend, and offers some fond memories below...

Words and portait by Tom Carey

I was first introduced to Barney when I was about 19 or 20 at the a Volcom house in France. I was such a little, green, grommet photographer. I didn't know shit and Barney taught me the ropes. We had this house near Hossegor with Randy Bonds, Ben Brough, Ozzie Wright, Dave Post and Mike Morrissey and it was my first taste of a Volcom life and this artistic world that everyone lived in. Barney took me under his wing and we spent the next month together in France and on the Eastern Seaboard of the US running wild. I've never laughed so much in my life. He was such a genuine person and he really would open up to me throughout the years.

I grew up envying his shots that Tony Roberts would take and I never thought I'd one day become such good friends with him. I feel like you only meet one or two people in your lifetime like Barney if you're lucky.

The door was always open to his house in Santa Cruz and he would always come down and stay with me at the Volcom house in Newport Beach. We traveled all over the world to Indonesia and Tahiti and the memories I have are so special. He'd always do funny shit like scream in the barrel at Chopes or yell at me to get my camera ready when he was pumping down the line. He's the only guy I knew that would try barrel rolls at Pipe, or any wave for that matter. They were the most epic manoeuvres you'd ever see on a wave. I'm laughing now just thinking of them.

His wetsuits, man, his wetsuits. Star Wars, Wolverine and countless others really show you how big of a kid he was. His art has inspired so many people who surf. Ozzie Wright and I were just talking about him and how much he had influenced Ozzie. That says a lot. He instilled this sense of humour in me that I've never let go of after 15 years of traveling and shooting. I really owe a lot to him. And surfing does too.

He was the original artist, free surfer, big wave charger and all around best human ever. We love you Barney and I just really hope everyone knows how big of a loss this is and how important he was to surfing. He touched so many lives and I wish I could talk to him one more time. Love you Barn.

Barney, truly one of the best to ever do it at Mavericks. Photo: Nate Lawrence. Barney, truly one of the best to ever do it at Mavericks. Photo: Nate Lawrence

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