[Coral-List] RIP Ricky Grigg 1937 - 2014

Gregor Hodgson gregorh at reefcheck.org
Fri May 23 02:58:33 EDT 2014

We lost Ricky yesterday. Ricky lived life on the edge from beginning to end
and enjoyed every minute. His brilliance as a scientist was sometimes
overshadowed by his history as one of the first to surf Waimea, his film
career, his work as a black coral diver, and his occasional use of the
1950's surfer term "cowabunga." But his scientific contributions including
Science cover publications, and tenure as Coral Reefs Editor were major
additions to coral reef science. Most listers are probably familiar with
his pubs, and how he did the science to try to create the first sustainable
black coral fishery. As a former student and friend, I'd like to mention a
couple other points.

He was a wonderful teacher and mentor because he was very frank -- and was
willing to take the time to explain in detail how he viewed an issue. Rick
had a knack for quickly juggling lots of facts and bringing them together
in a coherent package. He regularly infuriated environmentalists because of
his views on how hardy corals are -- using photos of corals growing on the
end of sewage pipes to make his point.

Rick was an incredible athlete --  he grew up next to Santa Monica pier,
was a life guard, and won the 1955 Catalina to Manhatten Beach paddle race
--- 34 miles -- no wetsuits back then. He used to practice by paddling from
Santa Monica Pier to Topanga point (where my office is) every morning --
about 8 km each way. When I asked him recently how he did this without wet
suits he replied, "Cold was not a problem with all that sweating. Try it
sometime." People who are not surfers may not appreciate how incredible it
was that he surfed big (as in 20 foot) waves on the north shore of Oahu
into his 60s -- and often was out on the biggest, craziest days, when many
young guys in their 20s are scared to go out.

In this day of narrow niches, Ricky crossed over from oceanography to
geology to coral ecology and physiology. He loved to share his knowledge to
the end as shown by his last book -- *In the beginning*, *Archipelago, the
origin and discovery of the Hawaiian Islands -- 2012. *Ricky was a true
"waterman," a great friend, and he will be missed.

Gregor Hodgson, PhD
Executive Director, Reef Check
PO Box 1057, Pacific Palisades CA USA
Tel: +310-230-2371
Skype: gregorh001
Email: gregorh at reefcheck.org

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