In 1995, the Buddy Pelletier Surfing Scholarship Foundation was started in memory of Buddy Pelletier. He was a former top ranked surfer with the APS in the 1980’s. Throughout his career, he was featured in many surfing publications, such as; Surfer Magazine, U.S. Surf, and Surfing. He also received an Act of Heroism award for saving the lives of 2 children during the Cocoa Beach Surfing Festival, where he won the Professional Division.
Buddy retired to Puerto Rico and had the time of his life. A natural switch foot, he had a left break in his front yard that pumped year round. When Longboards came back into fashion and a competitive circuit got under way, he decided to see if those old bones still had it. And yes, did they ever. He won the Puerto Rican National Longboard Championship 3 times and decided to spread his wings.
Buddy came back to the states due to his Mothers terminal illness from Cancer. He put his career on hold and took care of her until her final days. After she passed away, Buddy showed a renewed vigor on his Board, as if realizing life was short. He enjoyed a rebirth, and did very well on the pro tour. His last professional appearance was at the Ocean Pacific Longboard Invitational in Hawaii. Shortly after returning home, he underwent surgery and cancer was discovered. Buddy wasted no time in gathering those he loved close to him. His family had long been concerned about his choice of careers, but when we saw the brotherhood and the family he had gathered over the years, our fears were gone.
At that time there was an annual surf contest in our area, Sweet Willy’s Pro-Am. During that event, there was a spontaneous outpouring of support from Buddy’s surfing brothers. With little or no notice, teams bid against teams, contestants against contestants, and in an afternoon over $2000.00 had been raised for Buddy to use as he wished. When he was given this money and told of how it happened, he had a purpose and a plan. We spent many hours with Buddy as he planned out this Foundation. From who would sit on the Board, to who would be eligible to apply. He also wanted it to be a Humanitarian Aid Foundation, in case another Surfer found himself in Buddy’s shoes. Those of you who knew Buddy, knew how driven and focused he could be. This was exactly what he needed.
Some of his final thoughts were of the Foundation and the good it could do. We gave him a Waterman’s Service on the Outer Banks. There were many happy memories there for him. When the surfers, in a circle, released his ashes and put a lei in the water then splashed and made happy sounds to speed his journey into the next adventure, we who knew him have never felt more serene.