Sean Collins, Founder of Dies at 59

    December 27, 2011
    Chris Crum

Sean Collins, who was a famous surfer and the founder of the site, passed away in an Orange County hospital, after suffering a heart attack while playing Tennis.

Surfline actually started as a phone hotline in the mid-eighties, that surfers could call to hear surf reports. When the Internet got big in the 90s, Collins turned Surfline into a website at, after running it as a fax service for a while. Daily Pilot ran an interesting profile of him earlier this year, talking a bit about the site’s origins. It says:

At the 1995 U.S. Open of Surfing, they posted still images taken from video because streaming video was not yet available.

By the 1996 U.S. Open, Collins spent the $10,000 for their first surf cam and presented the first live surfing webcast in history. Now, Surfline has 150 surf cams around the world.

While his backround in forecasting and meteorology (apparently mostly self-taught), was his claim to entrepeneurial fame, his surfing won him plenty of acclaim as well. He was inducted into the Surfers Hall of Fame in 2008. has a slideshow-style presentation up honoring Collins’ life.

Our condolences to Collins’ friends and family.

More on his death here.