Lee Sheaff

We received some very sad news last week that Lee Sheaff passed away last Sunday due to complications with his cancer. Below are words from friends and fellow surfers and some great pics of Sheaffy in action.

Paul Blackley

I didn’t know Lee well but would bump into him at the beach all the time. Lee was always smiling and would always give you the time of day to discuss the waves. I managed to surf Freshwater Bay many times this winter and would always find Lee already in the line up. I would usually check to see who was in first and if Lee was one of the names in the water it would always tempt me into taking some pics first as he was great surfer.


Mark Painter

Shocked. Words can’t describe how I’m feeling this morning.

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Alan Reed

So sorry to hear the news. All we can do is send our sincere condolences, love and blessings, rest in peace bro.

James Cave

Always smiling/ripping. ….Sheaffy as I’ll remember


Ian Pacey

So sad! Devastating news! I will miss him in the line up, Fucking Cancer!

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Jason Swain

So sorry to hear that news, I didn’t know him well but he was always a really friendly face in the line-up and a very good surfer who loved being out there.


Luke Young

I’m proud to say I was Sheaffys’ mate- I started shaping for him on recommendation by Matt hardwood and immediately became pretty damn fond of the bloke. To say ‘what a waste’ is an understatement- I have discs full of surf shots of him in Samoa- and to look at them now leaves me in disbelief. He is definitely one if the best ‘all rounders ‘I’ve had the pleasure to shape for and definitely one of the best gigglers I’ve shaped for. Your team position will always be open for you Sheaffy, love from Luke and family and everyone at LY Surfboards

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Martin Drake-Knight

will be hard to imagine not seeing that van driven by that big white dog…. with sheaffy operating the pedals and trying to see the road. A legend of island surfing that could show up and instantly make the line up feel bright, less cold and more fun

Oliver Harvey

I always recollect with fondness the grin on his face as he dropped in late on a solid ledgy one at freshwater … if he made it or not ..it didn’t matter! .. as mart said … he was the one person who you’d always be happy to see when you paddled out…

Chris Mannion

It is not until they are not around that you understand how much you miss. Sheaffy was one of the nicest guys I have ever met with his smile infectious and when there is so many horrible people out there this truly is unfair. I know we only had our surfing lives where we were mates but to be honest that is our passion so it is an extremely important part of our lives and spend many hours together, something I will always remember him by. Such a sad moment in all our lives.

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Leahpar Ffar

An absolute gentleman …. I will always remember a big smile and a ripping style … The Last surf I had with him he was stylish as usual and whilst we sat a little wide he sat opposite the suck rock and took off on whatever set came to him !! Won’t be the same not seeing him in the sea with us…he will remembered as a true gent of the island surf scene.

Mark New

Out of all the surfers I’ve met home an away, Sheaffy’s stoke was unmatched. I ll never forget driving with a good friend all night to Scotland chasing a swell to find him crashing in the back of a cab van after arriving the day before. He surfed 2 days of epic swell with us broke a board, then drove back all on his own. Whenever it was on he would be there, always smiling. He was a good soul, a great surfer and I’m gonna bloody miss you mate!! The Island is not going to be the same without you.

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James Ranson

Sheaffy you represent everything thing in life that I respect and aspire to you. You are irreplaceable and I feel privileged to have known you. It seems so apt that the last surf we shared was Freshy as good as it gets and you were fucking ripping. Where ever you are I’m sure you’ll be on the biggest set I the day. See you in the waves Sheaf…

Edd Thompson

The last time I surfed with lee was near Niton, we sat together waiting for a set to come, I asked him how he was, he said good think I’m getting over it. A wave came he caught it, came back out and sat next to me again. We started talking about Samoa for a while then a set came and he paddled past me, I said what you doing? He said let me I’ve got cancer, and started paddling for the wave, of course I dropped in on him, we both trimmed down the wave and kicked out together. I said fuck mate you need a better excuse than that, he cracked up and we paddled out for some more. True legend, gone but never forgotten. R.I.P lee.

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Chris Mannion

Last year when he found out that he had cancer Sheaffy, Newy and myself took of to Thurso as the surf looked like it would pump, we had a rad time with rad waves. So last week I said to Sheaffy when he gets better I was going to take him away for a trip as it was almost a yr ago. He came back with this response which in Sheaffy world is priceless (sorry Newy !)
Sheaffy said ‘I will be doing my best to also keep eyes peeled on east coast and don’t want to get through all this then die in Newy’s van because he is texting at 100 miles an hour!’ This was the Thursday before he died and his sense of humour was always amazing ! Made me chuckle and something to remind me of him !

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Jamie Currie

RIP fella! Always a sad thing to see and so young! I never knew him like the lads did but he was always as you say he was in the line up with a smile, always! A sad lose for the island surfing community! Thoughts are with your family and friends! Rest easy mate!

Jamie Whittle

Shocked and saddened I was by the news. Le Sheaf was a legend. Always smiling, down to earth and had an amazing outlook on life. Makes me want to punch myself in the face for ever being a wingeing or agro bastard. I’ll really miss seeing him in the line up, as all the boys have said he was one of those guys that would always brighten up the line up with his infectious laugh. RIP Le Sheaf. You will be sadly missed x

Eddie Cole

Lee was the coolest, calmest and collected guy in the lineup for sure! With the utmost of patience he would always be on the biggest and best wave of the set. I have felt really cut up all day thinking about the sessions I’ve had with Lee and how we swapped stories about barreling right handers while waiting for the bombs. The last time I surfed with Lee was at pumping Freshy and I hadn’t had a wave for about twenty minutes due, to not knowing where best to sit, Lee waved me over to sit next to him we talked until the next set came and he gave me the first one. Needless to say I found my rhythm and had one of the best surfs I’ve had on the Island. The Island lineup will not be the same for me without screaming yeeew Sheaffy yeeew!!! All my condolences to those that had the pleasure of knowing him!!! XXX


Richard Payne

Lee was without doubt the happiest smiliest person in the water whatever the wave conditions, and never a bad word came from him. One of my first recollections of Lee was at the first Critical Section / Wight Air event in Yaverland car park – Lee won the Junior event for wave sailing. And that smile and passion for adventure sports continued relentlessly and gave so much to everyone around him. He was a legend and put in time for Bembridge Lifeboat and always gave to others- whether it be his smile or his time!
He will be sadly missed, my love, thoughts and prayers go with his family.
Rest in peace brother.

James Ranson

‘Surfing creates a special bond between people which is formed over years of frosty dawn runs and gale force onshores. Lee was there for all of it! We’ve lost a brother in arms, a true legend of our sport and an irreplaceable friend.’

Mark Painter

Why does it always happen to great people. ???
Big love from a land down under. xxx

14 Responses to “Lee Sheaff”

  1. Pacey says:

    nice tribute, Sheaffy ripped!! I miss you fella!!

  2. Ed Lorico-Minchin says:

    So sad to hear that news Sheaf. I knew you briefly. You’ll always be remembered as a genuine all-round waterman with a passion for waves and geniune sense of humour. You’re an inspiration and example to others. R.I.P mate.

  3. Nick Whittle says:

    Shocking Think that all the times we surfed I would always say sheafy! I never new that he was unwell or suffering from an illness I saw real strength in him and in his surfing

    I will miss him in the line up and at the beach

    Nick W

  4. Peter Higgin says:

    There’s not much more to say, most have summed it up. As someone who has surfed and skated on the Isle over the years, you can truly say you’ll not have met a more friendly face and guy to be around in the line-up or at the Hogden. I can’t remember meeting Lee for the first time, nor did it matter whether I’d seen him in days, months or years he always had the time of day and a friendly smile and enjoyed your stoke as much as his.

    Before and during his illness the guy lived his life like today might be his last. An inspiration to us all. So sad to hear of his passing, my condolences to friends and family.

  5. joe cole says:

    Really sad to hear this news, I always seemed to bump into Lee late in the evening at Niton, often just the two of us and blowing a hoolie. In the last year or so I had the pleasure of his company more often and his stories of chemo and the fact he seemed to carry on as though life was normal couldn’t fail to inspire me. I think the best story was after a particularly big fall from his dirtbike whist undergoing treatment. He was at a greater risk of infection and the nurses couldn’t believe what he had been doing to cause such a large bruise (he told me this while waiting for a set, and as we all know the water isn’t exactly see through around here!!). He was of course giggling as this story was recounted! I was always pleased to see him run down the hill.

  6. alexis says:

    i don’t surf but i remember Lee from school. he was in my year 11 English class and I always remember his lovely smile. he was such a nice guy. I was so shocked to hear the sad news. so unfair. Thinking of him over here in Istanbul x

  7. Tom Buggy says:

    Can not believe we spoke only a few days before you passed and all you asked was “how is your family? how are you”. Over 10 years we were friends and you always cracked me up. Windsurfing, kiting, surfing and then bloody MotoX. You did it all mate and ripped along with it.
    Another great and respected friend lost to this horrid deceases.
    You will be sorely missed old friend.

  8. Phil Skelley says:

    One of the nicest people I surfed with. I was always chuffed to see Lee on the cliff as I knew there’d be a friendly face in the line up.

  9. Karen Wheeler Cole says:

    I didn’t know Lee personally but remember him from junior football at Bembridge; he was only a little chap but had a big heart and was such a trier all the time he was on the pitch. A lovely young man then, and now judging by the comments on here. Damn cancer takes the good ones. Surf on wherever you are Lee x

  10. Billy Wavell says:

    Great bloke and a great surfer, so sorry to hear this news.

  11. Sally says:

    Very sad news, he was always such fun at school. Thoughts are with his family and friends xxx

  12. Trevor Guy says:

    I will truly miss Le Sheaf .

    On a crowded day if it was Lee running down to the beach nobody would mind as he was such a great guy and talented waterman . He shredded every water he took and it was always a pleasure to watch him surf .

    I was lucky enough to have a beer with Sheafy not long after his OP . I couldn’t believe the crazy mother was even having a beer . All he wanted to do was show off his scar to me and talk about waves and bikes as we usually would ,with that big old grin on his face like the whole thing was no big deal .

    A great guy with a big heart & even bigger smile

    Peace Bro

  13. Michael Forrest says:

    Surfers on the island are a close knit bunch, a family I guess in a way. You can head out into the water, drop your worries and have fun with your friends or a few hours before heading back to reality. I know I really appreciate this and I know Lee did also. I’ve been friends with Lee like so many others for many many years. Such a pleasant man, always smiling, always keen. He would be there earlier and later than anyone else, even going back to skating hen he would turn up at the Hogden like an addict and not go home till bruised. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. I’ll miss the random chats in the water, sentences always broken up by the next wave.
    A memory just came to me.. It wasn’t too long ago, winter time, he was into his treatment and feeling a lot weaker than he liked. Niton was heavy, strong wind, nasty rip. There was a handful of us there and 5 went in including Sheafy. A few minutes later and a bit of watching and waiting for the tide to turn, Mark, Josh and I realise there’s only 4 in the water now and no sign of the 5th. We immediately start scanning the shore and checking we are counting right. Then we start legging it down towards the harbour, the worry for our mate who we knew wasn’t at full strength took over us. Ran down there searching in the water, nope no sign, run back up slightly panicking now, worry across our faces… Get up to the caravans and theres bloody Ranson in his dry wetsuit! Yeah he hadn’t bothered to get in the water, he just sat out of view on the beach thinking about not going in. Yep, in true Sheafy fashion, he’ll be the one that was so far out back, holding position waiting for the monster set to find him!
    It was a slight realisation at the time that you could lose someone just like that. The ocean is a fierce place at times, many wont even consider entering a violent torrent of water and rocks. But some like Sheafy relish in it and come out smiling. R.I.P. Lee Sheaf – Legend among friends. X

  14. s0ulsurfing says:

    Fantastic tribute and all these lovely words say it all about one of the friendliest faces in the line-up as well as one of the best surfers