James DeVoglaer "Devoman":
As everyone knows, Mike Shea (AKA: SheaDawg in the Watertribe) has been battling cancer. I received a call yesterday that Mike passed on Tuesday at his home in Hawaii. The paddling community lost a great warrior; a fierce competitor; a true waterman, and a truly magnificent person. Mike touched many souls over the years and my time spent paddling with and against him has made me a stronger, wiser person. He will be missed by many.
I read on the surfski forum that Mike Shea passed away this last Tuesday. There were no details - it was suggested that it was from illness. Mike was a powerful and accomplished paddler who made his presence known in numerous Safaris, across California in open water surfski races, with Devo in Florida Watertribe events, along side Ian Adamson attempting to break the 24 hour distance record, etc., etc. He was an inspiration to me and undoubtedly to many others - he will be missed.
It was sad to hear about the loss of Mike Shea. I've never had occasion to talk to Mike but he was inspiration for me in my Texas Water Safari racing. During TWS 2001 I photographed him paddling a surfski at Rio Vista Dam and, later, at Cottonseed Rapid. Then, I watched his paddling again and again on video. Devo won that race but Mike's paddling style was much more elegant even on the second day and made a really strong impression on me. Since then, I've watched Mike's racing activities including his crazy tandem paddling with Devo. Hull Speed Magazine featured a nice story about Mike couching Benicia Paddle Club, "Go to the Green Can" on January/February 2004 issue. A quote from that article:
At the end of the technique session, Shea lines the group up to do some speed work and reminds everyone to apply the technique from the prior drill to the current sprint exercise. As the team makes its way to the Benicia Harbor, without warning Shea and Banfield disappear from the group. Shea spontaneously challenges Banfield to a playful "portage" race across a small island of slippery and jagged rocks, muddy slopes, and thorns. Even in practice the competetie spirit of the Benicia Paddle CLub is fierce. These guys that hill like prize money was at stake. Surprisingly, this uber competitiveness is all managed in a context where hard work begets good, healthy fun.