George Floyd: thousands of surfers paddled out in his memory all across Southern California | Photo: WSL

Thousands of surfers paddled out all across Southern California to protest against the death of George Floyd.

Surfers held the traditional Hawaiian floating memorial to celebrate the life and mourn the passing of the black man who suffocated in police custody on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis.

"It's just really exciting to see you know that momentum, that people do care about this cause, and to see the solidarity within the predominantly white surfing community," said Lizelle Jackson, who paddled out in Santa Monica.

Around 200 surfers chanted George Floyd's name nine times, symbolizing the nearly nine minutes that he was pinned down by the police officer.

They also sang "Happy Birthday" to Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old African-American emergency medical technician who was fatally shot eight times by Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers on March 13.

The surfers' tribute to George Floyd had several guest speakers, including America's first African American female professional surfer, Sharon Schaffer.

"I know our emotions are so delicate and so tender right now that we just burst into tears at the drop of anything," expressed Schaffer.

"Thank you so much for acknowledging what black aquatic people have done to try to bring unity to the water - we all have a right to exist on this Earth."

At Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas, 4,000 people participated in a massive paddle out.

The organizers recited some of Floyd's final words, and the crowd held silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds before getting to the water to honor the lives lost.

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