RIP Woody

Long time WSL security boss passes in tragic circumstances in San Clemente

Pro surfing is mourning the loss of David ‘Woody’ Wood, who took his own life in a San Clemente hotel late on 8th Sept.

It is believed Woody’s closest friend on tour, ’89 ASP World Champ and current webcaster Martin Potter, found Woody in his hotel room after dinner on Thursday evening.

“We are all in shock. I loved this man. I can hardly remember an event without him.” – Kelly Slater

Woody, the WSL’s top security man has been been pretty much ever present at top level surf events in recent memory.

If there was a WCT on, you can pretty much guarantee the guy keeping the hordes from ripping Kelly limb from limb in the shorey was Woody. You can also guarantee the guy keeping media scum and even roaming webcasters out of the surfers’ area, was Woody.

You never know the state someone is in, the subconscious thoughts and harbored feelings no one else truly feels or understands. And I guess this is the end of the road. It's terribly devastating to all of us who loved @woodysecurity to know this was him less than 24 hours ago, seemingly without a care in the world, smiling away in @peterkingphoto's hat wig. Unfortunately, his emotions and personal difficulties pushed him beyond his breaking point and he chose to take his own life last night. It would be convenient to blame another person. I guess it's natural to be angry at him. We're all just in shock. I loved this man. Can't believe we won't be seeing you as expected at every event. I can hardly remember an event without you. Always in everyone's corner on tour…it's really difficult to believe you're gone. Rest in peace, my friend and our thoughts go out to your children.

A photo posted by Kelly Slater (@kellyslater) on

The first time I met Woody was webcasting the WCT event in Peniche in 2010. My fellow commentators were all Australian, the banter was flying thick and fast the day before the event started. I was outnumbered, sure, but felt like I was holding my own, Battle of Britain style. But just in case, Woody, good mates with rest of the live stream crew took pity on the new guy, and pulled me to one side at the hotel bar in the Marriott.

“Me mum’s a Pom,” he said in a reassuring, fraternal tone, “If these cunts give you any shit, lemme know, and I’ll bash em.”

All a bit of fun of course, but testament to the man’s sense of humour and sense of fair play. Taking pity on the new guy, sticking up for the weakling. To me at least, down the years I was at events with him, Woody was a big, intimidating man on the outside, while kind-hearted and sensitive underneath.

The exact circumstances surrounding Woody’s parting are not known at this time, but he was believed to have been suffering from depression.

Our thoughts are with Woody’s family and friends at this tragic time.


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