Willy Morris, cherished but somewhat underground pro surfer known for a big smile and an even bigger frontside hack—California's answer to Australia's Richard Cram, maybe—has passed away.

Morris was born and raised in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley and began surfing at eight years old. He won the Katin Team Challenge at the Huntington Beach Pier in 1985, smoking Tom Curren, Mark Richards and Michael Ho on his way to the podium.

But Morris is known more for his presence in 80s surf media than his competitive career. “He was nonetheless one of the most visible surfers of the era (few surfers turned as forcefully; none accoutered themselves in brighter colors)” Surf historian Matt Warshaw says about Morris in the Encyclopedia of Surfing.

Morris’ rail work was splashed all over surf magazines throughout the 80s, occasionally making their covers. Morris’ surfing was also showcased in several surf films of the era including “Totally Committed” (1984) and “Ticket to Ride” (1986). After professional surfing, Morris worked in the surf industry as a sales rep and was also a talented fisherman. He continually lit up lineups and heaved buckets of water skyward anywhere he surfed.

Friends took to social media to share their condolences and reminisce the joy Morris brought to their lives.

Office Day!

A post shared by Willy Morris (@wmorris4) on