Paul Burke, well-known in the Southern California surfing community, died Tuesday, May 23, when a car struck him as he rode his bicycle along a highway near his Fallbrook home.
A Long Beach native, Burke, 59, grew up surfing almost daily in Seal Beach with his five brothers, said cousin Joe Marino. After graduating from Millikan High, Burke surfed competitively with the Association of Surfing Professionals in Hawaii and Australia.
Paul Burke, well-known in the surfing community for his surfboad designs, died after he was struck by a car while bicyling near his home in Fallbrook.
Paul Burke, well-known in the surfing community for his surfboard designs, died after he was struck by a car while bicycling near his home in Fallbrook.
Back in California, Burke found a niche in shaping boards — first in the Long Beach garage of his parents, Paul and Tillie. During the 1980s, he operated Burke Surfboards in Laguna Beach and later in Huntington Beach. A regular customer, pro surfer Brad Gerlach favored Burke’s innovative four-fin design.
Burke continued to shape and sell boards at his small business in Oceanside, but worked a “day job” to support his family, Marino said. For the past decade, he worked as a manager at Costco.
“As much as he loved surfing, he put family first every time,” Marino said.
Burke and his wife Laura raised four children.
An avid cyclist, Burke went for a ride Tuesday afternoon before his job shift was scheduled to begin. A 19-year-old woman driving a Ford Explorer veered off Old Hwy 395 and struck him, according to a California Highway Patrol press release. Burke died at the scene.
The woman was arrested for suspicion of felony driving under the influence of drugs and felony vehicular manslaughter, the CHP said.