In Memorium Eric Soares August 1, 1953 – February 1, 2012

by Nancy Soares on February 1, 2017

Editor’s note: This is our annual tribute to one of the founders of the Tsunami Rangers. This year we reflect on how we do nothing of ourselves alone; without the earth, air, and water to support our physical bodies and the people we encounter in our lives who support our souls we could not be. 

Eric and Misha's sacred tree, Higgins-Purissima trail near Half Moon Bay, CA

Eric and Misha’s sacred tree, Higgins-Purissima trail near Half Moon Bay, CA

Every morning first thing I give thanks to the universe for all that I have and all that I am because I know that of myself I can do nothing. I think of Nature’s support and the support of the people in my life: teachers, friends, family. I think too of the people who touch my life whom I’ve never met, like the people who pick the fruit I eat and those who sew the clothes I wear. Without everyone in the world who has touched my life, I would not be who and where I am today. Likewise, without Eric the Tsunami Rangers would not exist. We pause this time each year to remember Eric, his generosity and enthusiasm, and his short, full life. Eric taught that you could kayak in places that looked bad (scary) but felt good. He distinguished between those kinds of places that made great photo ops and other places that looked good (yeah, let’s go there!) but felt bad (crap, I wiped out). Thus the Rangers were able to go where no kayaker, or at least very few, had gone before, into the caves and rocks in surf.

To a large extent, whitewater sea kayaking is what it is thanks to Eric Soares and Jim Kakuk, co-founders of the Tsunami Rangers. Rock gardening would not be the same without the Rangers’ pioneering activities. Whatever people thought of the Rangers when they were first doing their thing, and there were plenty of people who thought they were bald-ass crazy, rock gardening is mainstream today in the 21st Century.

Thanks once again to my mentor, Eric, and to all the other Rangers for keeping the faith. And thanks to the Ocean for being our inspiration, our playground and our other home.


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

John Soares February 1, 2017 at 7:41 am

Beautifully said, Nancy. I think about Eric almost every day.


Nancy Soares February 1, 2017 at 9:34 am

Thanks, John. In Eric’s words, “I depreciate that!” I will miss him all my life.


Micaila February 1, 2017 at 10:04 am

“You could kayak in places that looked bad (scary) but felt good.” So great! Dad had such a unique view of the world, expressed so fully in the Tsunami Ranger philosophy. Thank you for this post. Love him. Miss him.


Nancy Soares February 1, 2017 at 3:12 pm

You’re so welcome, Micaila. Glad you liked the post. Some day maybe we’ll hike to that tree. I’ve never been there, but Steve King and Michael Powers know it well.


Jim February 1, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Remembrance of this day five years ago and what was lost: I will always remember Eric for his intelligent piercing look and witty humorous observations. He is still here in the images that pop up during my daily life. His presence is always felt when venturing out on the vast water world that kept us in a state of constant adventuring. We formed a lasting friendship long before the Tsunami Rangers, when we were young and frivolous exploring the back country of Northern California. Those times cannot be replaced but the memories are carried along with me and they are relived in the photos and his idioms that do not fade with time.


Nancy Soares February 1, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Jim, I’ll never forget Eric telling me how you guys met in Subway Cave. So funny. You two made an amazing team.


Tony Moore February 1, 2017 at 2:41 pm

So true, Nancy, rock gardening wouldn’t be what it is today without the Tsunami Rangers and Eric. I am grateful for that pioneering spirit, (so strong in Eric and the rest of the Rangers) that, looking at the surf and rocks, said “Why not?” Who ventured into the powerful, dynamic coastal surf zones and learned many lessons that were then shared with the rest of us so inclined to adventure there.


Nancy Soares February 1, 2017 at 3:13 pm

Thanks for your comment, Tony. You really get it. I am grateful for you and everyone like you who keep the faith alive.


Moulton Avery February 1, 2017 at 5:17 pm

I’ll never forget how he stood up for cold water safety in 1991, and had my back when every letter to the editor of Sea Kayaker magazine -except his- was against my article “Cold Shock”. Also how warmly he welcomed me back into the tribe of sea kayaking after a long absence. He was a gracious, principled man and a true adventurer and pioneer in both life and in our sport.


Nancy Soares February 1, 2017 at 9:50 pm

I know that meant a lot to you, Moulton. This is one of the things Eric taught: that great generosity of spirit and enthusiasm for everything. He used to say, “When people ask me if they should do something I always say ‘Yes!’ Unless it would hurt them, of course.” And he meant like falling off a cliff or something. I have tried, with varying success, to keep that spirit of enthusiasm going. Thanks so much for your comment. You meant something special to Eric in his last years.


Steven King February 1, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Thank you Nancy for the words, the sentiment the linkage to nature and gratitude.
Eric is in our home, our hearts, our souls, our spirits and in the holes in the kayaks he sold me! He is in the sunset last night and mist of of waves curls on a windy day. He helped change my life and his laughter echoes across time and space. I am grateful to have spent time on the water and watching super bowls.

Don Diego Cien Fuegos we love you !


Nancy Soares February 1, 2017 at 9:50 pm

Love you too, El Rey!


Scott Becklund February 6, 2017 at 4:18 pm

I think about Eric especially this time of year.
With his patience and friendship perhaps I learned more about myself then kayaking.
Because of him I’ve pushed myself to explore our coast in a way that I can’t imagine missing now. He profoundly changed me in ways I may never know. And beside me made friends who have become family and my “Tribe”.


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