We said goodbye to our friend today. . .Brandon Yates was just 23, seemingly too young to be stricken down by cancer. He fought courageously with the support of his friends and family and was surrounded by his loving family as he passed. We honored Brandon with a paddle out today. It was a beautiful sight. At one point with the circle of friends holding hands, a pod of dolphins cruised by just outside of the circle as if they were joining in. On one of the warmest days in Santa Barbara’s history, we said goodbye to Brandon. Most people are fortunate to have one nickname. Brandon had many. I’ll bet someone will read this and think, “That’s his name?!” Among Brandon’s list of nicknames are: Yates, Brando, Brandito, Bean, Beano, Billy, Bill, Shattner, Hatner, and my favorite, Barney –because that’s what my kids called him. He had that many nicknames because he had that many friends from all different walks of life. Brandon was one of those guys you wanted to hate, but couldn’t. He was a natural at every sport he did. He was a sponsored skater and an amazing snowboarder. For anyone who had seen him surf, you know we have lost one of the area’s most talented surfers. One of Brandon’s best friends summed it up well when he said, “I saw Brandon do the biggest backside 360 air ever and when he landed, he didn’t look to see if anyone was watching, he was looking at the next section.” Brandon was that good, and that humble, and we will miss surfing with him. We will miss his infectious laugh and crooked grin. We will miss his quick wit and all his smart-ass remarks. But most of all, we’ll miss just hanging out with our friend.
We’ve made a silhouette of Brandon. When you see it on our boards, you know that our friend is still with us. — Darryl Miya