luke mitchellMatt Bissel/Shore Point Photography

When a surfer dies, it’s tradition for his or her friends to hold a “paddle-out” in memoriam.

That’s what happened off the coast of Ocean Grove, New Jersey, on November 22 in honor of surfer Luke Mitchell, who recently died after battling vaulvular heart disease, according to an obituary. Mitchell worked in a surf shop and worked as a surf instructor, according to the obit, and has ridden waves in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and beyond.

Non-surfers rarely get to see a paddle-out up close,  but a camera drone manned by area photographer Mike Bissel was on hand to capture the memorial, which was organized by theSurfrider Foundation’s Jersey Shore chapter. Keep reading to see what it was like.

The surfers threw flowers toward the rowboat. This part gave Bissel goosebumps, he said.

Then the surfers went back to the shore, with some catching waves along the way.