A few weeks ago the kayaking world was shocked to learn of the sudden passing of Eric Soares, co-founder of the Tsunami Rangers and well-loved extreme kayaker. This larger than life personality had been an enormous source of inspiration to other paddlers and shared his experiences and knowledge with other paddlers through his blog TsunamiRangers.com.
I had never met Eric, but had got to know him via his blog and through email around a year ago after becoming friends with fellow Tsunami Ranger Jim Kakuk. My growing love of rock gardening was challenged by a lack of local mentors and I had turned to Eric for advice and guidance, showing him clips of my experiences amongst the rocks and getting feedback on what I could have done better. Eric was always generous in his advice, brutally honest and unafraid to tell me off when he thought I’d been reckless. At the same time he was enthusiastic about my attempts, keen to see my skills grow and had a clear understanding of the absolute rush that rock gardening provides. Simply, he understood.
As a grown man it is difficult to reach out to mentors, but Eric willingly assumed the role for so many. His accomplishments went so much further than just kayaking of course, both in athletic pursuits (he was a Black Belt in Jiujitsu) and professional pursuits (he was a Professor of Marketing and a prolific author). He was one of those people who seemed to do nothing by halves, but rather embraced all his pursuits with vigour and determination. One of his later blog posts about what it takes to be a true man was contentious to many because it listed all of his own achievements as the benchmark, but regardless of how you looked at it, the fact was the man WAS an over-achiever in many different ways and near impossible to match.
When I heard of Eric’s passing I admit it affected me far more than I expected. His prior brush with death and the experience of rebuilding his health post-surgery had resonated with me and my own experiences greatly. When you have been that close to the end and come back you have a tendency to feel almost immortal, but the truth is we are all far from it. My growing friendship with this incredibly charismatic man had come to a halt all too soon, and I struggled with the finality of it all. Of course, my sense of loss would be nothing compared to that of his wife Nancy, his family and his close friends, and to them I offer my sincere condolences.
Eric was a great man and will be remembered fondly by all he touched, myself included. If I learnt anything about Eric during my many emails with him, it was that he had an incredible passion for life and truly embraced the wonder of it. During our short friendship I often produced videos for him and felt that to celebrate his wonderful life, I should make one last video in tribute showing him doing what he loved so much – kayaking with his friends the Tsunami Rangers. I hope you enjoy my final tribute to him. Cheers, FP
Nicely done Sean, Eric would be proud. It is a difficult time but we are all lucky to have known Eric, thanks for the tribute.
Captain, Tsunami Rangers
An awesome tribute!
I didn’t know Eric, but I felt like I did from having following his blog for several years. We’ll all miss him.
The video is very nicely done Sean. Thanks.
a stirring tribute!
Amazing, well done!
Really nice Sean. Well done. Soundtrack was perfect.
Just came across this message and I am in shock. When and how did Eric die – I’ve sent him some emails in the past year and now I know why he didn’t reply.
His passing affected me more than I expected too. Eric helped shape my destiny some 40 years back ,he was a born leader. I know there are many souls that he inspired to reach beyond what seemed impossible. I was blessed to have called him my friend. I will always remember that laugh that let us know he knew what life here was all about and more, . Thank you for the amazing video of our bigger than life warrior. And Eric is right…Every extra day is a gift…
Wow, Sean, I don’t know how I managed to miss this but I’m sure glad I checked in with your website today. Pretty cathartic for me, let me tell you. Thank you doesn’t really seem adequate…I am reminded once again how grateful I am to have been part of this man’s life and for all the wonderful friends we have. Eric would have loved the quote – believe it or not I just finished reading “The Peloponnesian War” by Thucydides – we talked about it a lot.
Hi Nancy, glad you finally got to see it. I love the Classics myself, in fact I was just discussing Tacitus and Suetonius with a colleague at work yesterday. I have the Peloponnesian War sitting not 2 yards from right now as a matter of fact. Anyway, hope you are well and doing ok. Cheers, FP
Plutarch’s Lives is on my nightstand. I was working my way through it but paused to read Paul Caffyn’s “Dreamtime”.
BTW, what’s that song you used in the video? I love it!!!
The song is “Warrior” by The Feelers.
Sitting here waiting for my truck to finish getting serviced prior to heading out to play in the hot springs in the Eastern Oregon desert I watched this video again. I can’t thank you enough for putting this together, FP. From time to time I get a little down and goddammit this video reminds me to put my head down and GO FOR IT!!! whatever I do. I love the quote at the end. Thank you thank you thank you for reminding me to warrior up every day of my life. God, I was lucky. And I still am.