Surfers gather to honor East Coast legend & NSSA champ

Local surfers gathered Saturday afternoon to honor Mark McDandel who passed away Monday, January 9th.

Mark was a lifelong resident of Myrtle Beach and started the local chapter of the NSSA surfing organization. He also became the very first NSSA champion from the East Coast in 1978, a feat unmatched until local surfer Cam Richards won it in 2011.

Mark surfed professionally for several years and was known locally as a guy that was always smiling, and would paddle out in any conditions.

Gathering on the beach at 55th Ave North in Myrtle Beach, surfers remembered and reminisced about Mark before participating in a traditional “Paddle out” ceremony in the chilly water. Once gathered in a circle with hands held, the memories began to flow as those in attendance began to speak a few words of their friend.

Mark’s wife Linda and son Robert then paddled to the middle of the circle, said a few words themselves before scattering the ashes of the man many say was one of the best surfers on the East Coast.

Although heavily involved in surfing, Mark also was a member of the Christian Surf Club, the Surfrider Foundation, Seacoast Vineyard Church and Ocean View Baptist Church.

As Surf City surf shop owner Mark Allison put it “We will miss Mark so much. His smile and positive attitude is what I will remember the most. His spirit will live in our hearts forever. The crew at Surf City has lost our team leader”

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