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Surfers have special funeral for a friend

A “paddle out” at Manu Bay last Sunday morning saw 70 or so surfers link hands in the shape of a circle in honour of their mate Patto, who died the week before.

The poignant surfers’ version of a funeral came just days after hundreds packed Raglan Town Hall and the supper room for a service to celebrate the life of Patto — real name Dave Patterson — who surfed Outside Indies and only at Manu Bay when the waves were big.

‘Big wave Dave’ was another nickname, as was ‘straight Dave’ for the lines he drew in the surf. His surfing style was legendary, says old schoolfriend and fellow tradesman Marty White. “He was very, very talented on a surfboard.”

While surfing was his passion, Patto was an all-round sportsman and a bit of a comedian, adds Marty. He crossed the finish-line of this year’s Karioi Classic on an “old school” bike and still had the energy to come in “planking” — hands on the handlebars, legs outstretched behind in imitation of a hang-glider.

And Patto was to surfboard shaper Ray Finlay not only his next-door neighbour but also his best friend. Ray too could vouch for Patto’s great sense of humour and his generous personality, always helping out a mate when need be.

Te Uku farmer Maurie Vanhoutte meanwhile vouched for another of Dave’s qualities, that of a “first-class” tradesman.

Raglan Area School teacher Celia Risbridger, who taught Dave’s two young daughters when they were just five, saw a different side of him which was testament not only to his support of the local school but to his ingenuity. He cleverly pieced together bits of plumbing pipe, she told the Chronicle, so that when kids held the device to their ears they could hear themselves read without the distractions of others around them.

His legacy was a beautiful family, she said, and an ingenious but simple teaching device that would also help others in the future.

The school’s high regard for Dave was illustrated at the town hall service when the junior pupils, accompanied by teacher Andre Ngapo, performed the school song He Honore in his memory.

Various speakers at the service also told of Dave’s sense of humour, saying he was always making quips or coming up with hilarious one-liners — like yelling out at a rock concert, when the crowd was quiet, that “this is better than a Saturday night watching telly”.

Also at the service — transferred from the Wainui Bush Park Reserve near Dave’s home because of the bad weather — his sister Lesley delivered a powerful eulogy in which she made an analogy between influenza and depression. In severe cases some people died of the ‘flu, she said, as Dave had died from a severe bout
of depression.

Patto is survived by his wife Sharon and their three children Sacha, Sophie, and Leon.

Edith Symes

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