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Ormond Beach Observer Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 4 years ago

Paddle Out: Local surfing duo inspires photography, documentary

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Photography by Walker Fischer focused on his friendship and ocean-based bond with lifelong friend Kent Coleman has caught the eye of filmmaker Will Lucus.

BY EMILY BLACKWOOD | STAFF WRITER

Some surf for competition. Others surf for pleasure. But self-proclaimed "soul surfers" Kent Coleman and Walker Fischer had been paddling out for more than 50 years, before Coleman died suddenly from a massive heart attack in October.

Only three weeks prior, the duo had been surfing at Ormond-by-the-Sea.

"There have always been and will always be long-lasting friendships among those of us who have persevered to ride the liquid pulse of the planet as long as we live," Fischer said. "Ours was simply one of those friendships, and I couldn't be more grateful."

Fischer, an amateur "snapshootist," as he calls himself, recently starting taking photos of Coleman and the ocean with his digital camera. His photography is currently hanging in the Ormond Beach Regional Library.

He dedicated his collection to Coleman.

"I'm getting a little too old to surf; it's strenuous," Fischer said. "I still do it, but it hurts a little bit. So I find this is a way I can keep connected with the ocean."

And the shots he takes allows him to go over all of the decades of memories he had with his friend.

"The zenith of our surfing experience occurred on Oct. 31, 1991, in Ormond Beach, during the famous 'Perfect Storm' swell," he said. "Record-big waves for Florida: 15 feet and more. "By then, we were both in our mid-40's and thrilled and scared to death to find ourselves in such monstrous surf. I'll never forget Kent taking off on the biggest wave I've ever seen and riding it, swooping and stylishly, all the way to the beach. I was lucky to make it back alive."

Fischer says it's his artistic goal to make people take note of nature, the ocean and its power.

"We just did it because we love the ocean and love being out there," Fischer said. "Not only the ocean itself, but the wonder of being out there. It's kind of a bonding."

The lifelong friendship between Fischer and Coleman caught the eye of filmmaker Will Lucus. He's currently compiling a documentary that will feature the Ormond Beachers.

Lucus hopes to debut it mid-2014.

"I keep in touch with several surfers from my class at Seabreeze," Fischer said. "Believe it or not, we are in our mid-60s, and we still paddle out. I hope to keep doing it as long as I can."

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