The Coast News Group
The Flaming Heart Awards were named in honor of Dane Olson, a Cardiff-by-the-Sea resident, who passed away 10 years ago. Courtesy photo
The Flaming Heart Awards were named in honor of Dane Olson, a Cardiff-by-the-Sea resident, who passed away 10 years ago. Courtesy photo
A Place To Call Home Featured

A Place to Call Home: Awards mark man’s love of community

It has been 10 years since a young surfer named Dane Olson, who lived in and loved Cardiff-by-the-Sea, was lost to us.

His untimely death from surgical complications following a wake-skating injury saddened those who knew him as well as those who did not, and his memory lives on in our community from a bench in Glen Park that reads:  “May the vast universe take him in its arms, and may he know in his fearless heart the great unknown,” to the Dane Olson Surfing collection in the Cardiff-by-the-Sea Library.

He’s even memorialized on a plaque on the Cardiff Kook and probably would have delighted in the statue’s infamy.

Dane’s enthusiasm for Cardiff-by-the-Sea was so great that his family says he should have worked for the Chamber of Commerce.

He loved Pipes, the late Miracles, Glen Park, Seaside Market sandwiches and dinners at the Chart House where he once worked.    He enjoyed sunset walks with the love of his life, Elaine Willey, while admiring the interesting architecture in the “composer district.”

He loved bodysurfing at Table Top and surfing at Cardiff Reef as well as at Swami’s.

Wide Eye Productions, an independent video production company, was started by this UCSD media arts graduate while living in Cardiff.  As a sideline he created short video clips for  Prior to his death he had taken the California real estate exam to explore yet another career opportunity in the area.

To memorialize his life the family asked the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce to recommend names of people who had the same “infectious enthusiasm” for their community as Dane did.  Those selected received the Flaming Heart award as well as several gifts.  Two awards were given; I was honored to receive the first, and John Noonan, who volunteers tirelessly, received the second.  Awards were presented at the Hansen/Machado Surf Classic contests.

At the presentation of the second Flaming Heart awards, Dane’s younger brother, Alex, spoke these words, “From the moment he set foot in this beautiful town he fell in love with it.  He loved the laid-back beach atmosphere, the unique stores and restaurants, the amazing views, and of course the ocean.”  He went on to say, “It’s hard not to have fun when you are with someone who is so jazzed about whatever it is you’re doing.”

Dane’s passions were life, surfing, filming and editing, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, his friends and his family. At his Seaside memorial paddle-out one of his aunts said, “We loved him best, because he loved us best.” Family and friends have funded an extensive Cardiff-by-the-Sea Library surfing collection which continues to grow in his memory.

Though I did not know Dane, oddly enough his ashes were committed to the ocean waters in 2004 on March 23, which is also my birthday.  I know that he and I would have been friends because it is obvious we shared a love for Cardiff-by-the-Sea, a jewel of a place to call home.

A founding and life member as well as past president and current board member of the of the Friends of the Cardiff-by-the-Sea Library, Irene has lived here since 1982.



Janet May 10, 2014 at 1:41 am

Your article brought me smiles and tears. It is impossible to remember Dane without it bringing a smile and a cherished memory. Tears for the loss for our family and all those who loved him. We miss him. Thanks for such a great article.

Ryan Orlando May 8, 2014 at 8:38 am

A good article on such an amazing person. Great Dane Olson wasn’t just a friend to our family, we considered him family. He was like another older brother to me and a 3rd son to my parents. He is the definition of an Oldsoul. Dane, you are a true legend and are missed everyday and we love you.

Hi Karen, Don and Alex hope all is well. Much much Love to you.

Angie Jacobs May 7, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Thank you for keeping my cousin’s memory alive through your words.

Karen & Don Olson May 7, 2014 at 8:51 am

Thank you, Irene, for this lovely article about our beloved son. The author Barbara Kingsolver wrote: “You learn to love the place somebody leaves behind for you.” For us Cardiff has become that place.

Nancy Peck May 7, 2014 at 1:38 pm

A lovely article that truly captures the personality of my beloved grandson, Dane.

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