I was devastated last night watching the news and hearing about the death of this remarkable man. I met Adam surfing in Sumba 3 years ago. Hung out with him for a week or so and got to know him. As well as being one of the best Hang gliders in the world (not that he would ever say or even think that - his mate filled me in on the back story), he was a beautiful and graceful surfer, a joy to watch. But much more than that, he was one amazing human being. One of the gentlest, kindest, most generous souls I've ever had the privilege to know. So soft, so humble yet so brave and skilled.
He had gone through a very rough stretch. He'd lost his wife, who he clearly loved with rare intensity, to a nasty disease, not long before. Four months after, he had a gliding accident that should have killed him, and damn near did. The injuries were by all accounts massive, but he fought back from them and rebuilt his shattered body. This trip he was on was his mate's way of pulling him back into the world of life again, but there was deep sadness in him - you could feel it. He wrote about the accident here:
Makes me well up inside when I read it.
He wasn't a mate or anything like that - just someone I met travelling. But he had a big soul and made a big impression that has always stayed with me. There must be very sad folks up Newcastle way today - people like that come along only rarely. RIP Adam.