REGION — As a budding surfer, Ricky Whitlock was introduced to Scott Sherwood through a mutual friend as a possible sponsor. The plan, Whitlock explained, was to meet with two other companies after the meeting with Sherwood.
But after the meeting, Whitlock wasn’t interested in going anywhere else.
“The vibe and the connection I felt with him was unparalleled,” Whitlock said. “I just felt like he was one of my older brothers.”
That was 10 years ago — the beginning of a friendship that would extend far beyond the shaping room, surfboards and riding waves.
On Jan. 18, Sherwood, 46, the noted North County surfboard shaper, passed away, suffering a heart attack and later pneumonia while staying at his dad’s house, according to Whitlock.
In an interview with The Coast News earlier this month, Sherwood talked of having just last November celebrated his 11th year of surviving cancer.
He never let the cancer affect his daily life or his relationships with friends and family, said Whitlock. “He always beat the cancer.”
It was a few years ago when Sherwood would begin the process of building his newest surfboard company, Avasin, based in Solana Beach.
With the idea for the company in mind, Sherwood called upon Whitlock to see if he wanted to be a part of it, along with co-owner Seth Stuckert, as a co-owner and team rider.
Whitlock’s response: “Of course I do.”
“Ever since Avasin, we’ve become even closer — talking everyday, working everyday, working on surfboard designs everyday,” Whitlock said. “And now I just want to continue his legacy.”
In the January article, Sherwood said that he and Whitlock would spend lots of time together working in the shaping room.
The dynamic between the two was a matter of pushing each other out of their comfort zones, Whitlock said.
“We both made each other progress,” he added.
Whitlock recalls the final time they were in the shaping room together, just talking. And Sherwood said: “I’m not going to be here forever, so someone’s going to need to take over.”
“His exact words,” said Whitlock. “He was just referring to the big scheme of things — like down the road — and it’s crazy, that that was the last time we were in the shaping room was when he said that.”
Sherwood began shaping surfboards 23 years ago. He said the ideas for his designs came more from the surfers he worked with rather than the actual waves they rode.
Whitlock, Sherwood said, was one of those he took his shaping cues from.
Whitlock described Sherwood as the “definition of cool” in an Instagram post memorializing his friend. He said it was all because of his persona. “He never once lost his cool — you could have someone come that starts spitting in his face and he would just still sit there and keep his cool. He never lost his temper; he never let anyone get to him….
“You wanted to be like him, you wanted him to rub off on you so that way you can be more like him. Because he made you feel like a better person. He just brought out the best in every one around.”
He saw the best in people and he would encourage you to be a better person and pursue your dreams, Whitlock added. “If you were down and out he would pick you up and help you out.”
A paddle out for Sherwood is scheduled for Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. at Seaside Reef in Cardiff. The paddle out is open to the public, Whitlock said. “Anybody that’s ever encountered Scott, anyone that wants to know anything about him, that’s intrigued by him, anyone that’s ever had any type of relationship with Scott is more than welcome to go,” he added.
“I know he’s in a better place now,” Whitlock said. “It was definitely hard the first few days, but I just know that he’s there, he’s smiling and he’s in peace.”