Charlie Don't Surf founder John Carroll died Oct. 7, 2021. (Contributed photo)

Longtime White Rock restaurateur succumbs to COVID-19

News of Charlie Don’t Surf ‘legend’ John Carroll’s Oct. 7 death shared on Facebook

Staff and patrons of an iconic Marine Drive restaurant are mourning the death of its founder, who “lost a hard fought battle with COVID-19.”

Charlie Don’t Surf owner John Carroll died Thursday, Oct. 7, according to a post that afternoon on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“We lost a mentor, and the world lost a White Rock legend,” the post reads.

Carroll, who started Charlie’s – located at 15011 Marine Dr. – in 1985, was known to be “a sassy, hard working man who was always eager to give feedback and to make his vision of the world a reality,” it continues.

READ MORE: White Rock restaurateur thunderstruck by theft of prized guitar

Assistant general manager Kyle Grant told Peace Arch News that Carroll was “someone who always spoke up for what was right.”

“Be it supporting community initiatives, fundraisers, or his staff when they chose to take on issues in the community.

“He looked out for us, his neighbours and his community first,” Grant said.

“He truly was a pillar of the community for over 35 years.”

Nicole Eastman, who worked for Carroll and considers him to have been a close friend, said he had a positive impact on hundreds of lives.

“The businesses he built were as warm and authentic as him as a person and true pillars and gathering places in the community,’ Eastman emailed to PAN.

“Especially with Charlie Don’t Surf (named after the song by The Clash, NOT Apocalypse Now, a point very important to John), he created a gathering place, so many people’s first job, a place for people to earn enough money to achieve their dreams, a place of refuge and a family.”

Dozens of people have commented on the Facebook post announcing his death, describing Carroll as a “legend” with a unique outlook on life – “a character in his own right… a true icon of the beach.”

He “had a lasting affect on many,” writes one.

“He was deeply loved by so many folks, a very kind and inspiring man with a big heart,” adds another.

“John lived life by his rules, it was a privilege to work with him,” writes Jerome Chibber.

“White Rock won’t be the same without him,” adds Terri Hough.
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