Last Friday and Saturday were a surreal experience. For myself and hundreds of others in Central Florida, it was spent reminiscing about and celebrating the life of a great friend, Robert Rohmann, who passed away June 15th to Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension. He was 30 years old.
You may remember Robert's name from east coast, amateur surfing events through the early 2000s. He was a talented goofyfoot that no one wanted in their heat. What's more memorable though, is the fact that
everyone wanted to be around Robert outside of the jersey. He was one of those rare people that you just feel lucky — and proud — to call your friend. When Robert was around smiles grew wider and laughter grew exponentially louder.
Throughout the years hanging with Robert, I can’t remember a time when he wasn't upbeat and genuinely happy. Things weren't always perfect in his life, but you would never know it by the way he acted or treated others. CJ Hobgood summed it up flawlessly during the paddle out ceremony on Saturday saying, "Robert always did more for you, than you could ever do for him."
There's no doubt Robert could've gone on to do anything he wanted in the surf industry. As I was moving out (of Robert's house) to California for a job at SURFING Magazine in 2008, I wondered why he didn't jump on a similar, albeit better, opportunity. That wasn't Robert though. A Florida boy at heart, he only wanted to surf, fish and raise the most beautiful family you've ever seen. Which is exactly what he accomplished.
I'm still in search of an answer for why we've lost our brother at such a young age, with a seemingly endless amount of great things left to accomplish. But I do know for sure that void is now left for all of us to fill, using Robert's life as an inspiration to become better people.
Thank you Robert for all the joy you brought to this world. Thank you to all his friends who paddled out to honor his life. It truly was amazing to witness the same amount of love thrown back towards a man who gave out all of his on a daily basis.
To read more or lend support to Robert's family (left behind are his wife Arianne, and daughters Baleigh, 7 and Raelyn, 5), please click here.
— Jimmy Wilson