On Monday, San Diego-born surf star and one-time extremely promising professional David Eggers was found dead at his home in the Salton Sea. The cause of death is unconfirmed though David’s brother Scott speculated, “most likely a heart attack or stroke, via his Facebook page. He was 45.
In the 1980s surf scene, David burst onto the World Tour at just 16-years-old. As one of the most promising surfers ever out of La Jolla, he had won every amateur contest and decided to drop out of high school to play in the big leagues. After only 18 months on tour, his competitive flame had burned out and was replaced by a flame of another kind. David had become addicted to drugs, returning home to San Diego.
“Yesterday was gone,” Eggers was quoted saying about that period via the Encyclopedia of Surfing, “I didn’t know what was going to happen tomorrow, and all my friends and I cared about was the here and now. We didn’t care if we lived or died.”
Later David was diagnosed as schizophrenic. And with World Title dreams vanquished, he moved in with his father near the Salton Sea. For the past few years he had been working at his dad’s roadside watering hole, Capt’n Jim’s, serving beers and running a maintenance routine.
Too often we see remarkable talents ripped away by the binds of addiction and mental illness. And David’s case is most heartbreaking as the surf world mourns the loss of one of the greatest that never was. At least now, however, he is at peace. As a proper memorial of David’s legacy and his take-no-prisoners, ass-kickin’ approach to a wave, watch this clip from his heyday: