Palisadians Honor Geller in Paddle Out Ceremony


Community members held a service and ceremony for Palisadian Damon Michael Geller, who died Thursday, December 20, while night surfing at Topanga State Beach.

By way of a paddle out, where surfers swim out into the ocean and hold a service, Geller’s friends and family said their goodbye to the beloved Palisadian, who was known as a family man and an outdoor sports enthusiast.

“Just past the surf break, close to 100 people on surfboards and paddle boards held hands, cheered Damon’s name and promised to stay in touch, despite distances and busy lives,” a post on the Marquez Charter Elementary School Instagram page shared. “Even the lifeguards paid homage by blasting sirens and pouring water overhead from the rescue boat.”

Palisadians showed an overwhelming amount of support both in person and online, as Geller’s life touched many.

“When I think of Damon I think devoted dad and a valuable part of Marquez Elementary,” said one of many Facebook posts.

“Damon and I shared identical ideas on many important issues and often discussed them,” said another post. “I will miss him greatly.”

“Marquez lost an amazing dad this holiday season,” the school posted. “Damon Geller touched many people through his life.”

The post described Geller’s celebration of life at Kehillat Israel as “standing room only,” with “every seat taken by family, friends, financial colleagues and more.”

Geller, who was 48 years old, was well known in the surfing community, often seen riding the waves at Topanga State Beach.

On Monday, December 31, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office announced the case was under “additional investigation” after initial reports attributed the death to medical reasons.