A year ago today the surfboard of Daniel Bobis washed ashore without him off the coast of Sumatra.
The 32-year-old Long Beach resident and teacher disappeared while surfing with his wife, Rachel, during a vacation to the remote Indonesian island. Immediately, Bobis’ family and friends set up a PayPal fund to help search for him, and that evening many people from Long Beach gathered at the boardwalk hoping for his safe return.
But four days later a group of fishermen found Bobis’ body up the coast from where he went missing. On a Facebook page devoted to the surfer, the announcement of his death read: “We are all deeply saddened by the loss of this amazing husband, teacher, surfer and friend to so many.”
A lifelong Long Beach resident, Bobis, 32, was a math teacher at Long Beach High School who was involved in his town in many ways. He formed the school’s first surf club and, in 2010, the first district-sanctioned competitive team in New York State. He worked as an advisor to the team and was a co-founder of the Long Beach Surfer’s Association. During his down time, Bobis played drums in a metal/hardcore band, Cipher, which he helped form.
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On the night his body was found, a vigil was held for him at Laurelton boardwalk, his favorite surfing beach. It was marked by his friends taking lessons from his untimely death.
“It’s a shame that sometimes you have to lose people to know how beautiful and precious they are,” Maurice Mitchell told hundreds, including many of Bobis' students through the years, who had gathered and held candles that illuminated the dark boardwalk that evening.
In the days and weeks that followed a series of memorials and fundraisers were held for Bobis and his family.
One involved a ceremony in which a street sign was unveiled on Laurelton boardwalk that renamed the area “Danny Bobis Beach” in October. The occasion included his friends and family and some city officials, and later that day a fundraiser for Rachel was held at The Inn on West Beech Street.
A poster attached to the pole bearing the new green-and-white street sign read: “Daniel has touched the lives of so many people in our Long Beach community, whether mentoring troubled students, organizing beach clean ups, founding the first ever Surf Team in New York State at Long Beach High School, or through any of the other community minded endeavors in which he passionately engaged.”
Jennifer Boston, a friend of the very private Bobis family, said that Rachel remembered her late husband privately on Monday night at 9:30 p.m., since that was the actual time that he disappeared in Indonesia. She said that the past year has been particularly tough for his family and friends, but that Rachel has remained courageous and strong and they are keeping his memory alive in different ways. “His sister had another child,” she said, “and I believe the child’s middle name is ‘Laurelton.’”