"Take care of yourselves and each other, and always remember my motto:
Itís ok to work hard, as long as you play harder."
in an email to his parents 7/02
December 3, 2002
I can remember the first time I met Joe, when he was visiting the College of Charleston prior to his first year. He seemed like your average surfer, easy-going and as stoked as anyone I ever met. Over the next few years we surfed alongside eachother at the Washout at Folly. I remember thinking to myself that this kid surfs pretty well, considering he was from Orlando. He had a natural ability that I wished I had. It was'nt until I travelled to Costa Rica with him in June of 1998 that I really came to know him. We had quite a crew to say the least: Jordan, Pucket, Glen, Bird, Joe and myself. I believe it was his first of many surf trips. Like many trips before, there was the occasional arguments over where we were going to surf and where would be the best spot. Everyone would get mad, except for Joe. He just went with the flow, he was just happy to be in a tropical paradise scoring perfect waves. He had the best attitude of anyone; he had that eternal stoke that everyone wished they had. Even if the waves were bad, he never lost his enthusiasm. I can remember one session at Tulin, I think that's how you spell it, anyways, it was a beautiful evening and the surf was about as fun as it gets. Overhead, offshore and barreling, the waves were plentiful and perfect. After getting our fair share we called it a session, and I'll never forget how thankful and happy he was to be a part of it. Those waves made him smile like no other. He did'nt say much or boast about all the waves that he caught, that was'nt his style, he just took it all in. He wore that eternal smile. After traveling to France with Jordan in the summer of 1999, I moved to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina and even though I never spoke with him, I heard bits and pieces about his surf travels. I was definitely jealous, but knew that Joe and Jordan were taking full advantage of the opportunity. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I heard about the loss of Joe. I was overcome with anger and sadness. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Milligan family. You should be proud of the fact that your son touched the lives of many and that we can only strive to touch as many people in our lives as Joe did in his. Joe, you will be deeply missed by many, and even though I did'nt know you that well, you touched my life. I'll be thinking of you the next time I pull-in to that backside tube, grinning from ear to ear.
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