Indonesian fishermen find body of American surfer

AP News
Posted: Jul 28, 2011 4:18 PM
Indonesian fishermen find body of American surfer

Local fishermen Thursday found the body of an American surfer who went missing last weekend in waters off western Indonesia.

Daniel Bobis apparently hit another surfer's board after emerging from the barrel of a powerful, 10-foot (3-meter) wave. His leash broke and his board washed to shore. A member of the search and rescue team said Bobis' body was found about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from where he'd last been seen.

Bobis, 32, was a math teacher and coach at Long Beach High School in New York. He had been vacationing with his wife, Rachel, on Sumatra island. She did not wish to comment.

Friends in Long Beach, a seaside community on Long Island, said Bobis had seemingly boundless energy. He played drums in a band, taught karate and was an environmental activist. At the school, he started a competitive surf team and was head coach.

"Everybody's mourning," said Teresa Greifenberger, 53, whose son Jonathan is on the surf team.

School staff members were calling bereaved students to let them know counselors were available, she said. Some of the surfers were planning to paddle into the surf Thursday evening and observe a moment of silence, she added.

Sean Pearsall, 32, called Bobis a close friend. He said the news was devastating but there was a measure of relief that his body was found.

"He was such a staple in the community," he said. "There were just so many people whose lives he touched. He did more in 32 years than most people do in 80. He definitely lived his life to the fullest and that's how he was every day."

His friends are planning a benefit for the family in September. Pearsall said they already had an overwhelming response from individuals and businesses eager to donate items for a raffle.

"He knew the power of the ocean," Pearsall said, adding that Bobis was an extremely experienced surfer and swimmer.

"It just goes to show you that Mother Nature calls the shots, unfortunately."


Associated Press writer Karen Zraick contributed to this report from New York.