Sonny Miller Eulogy & Tribute Video by Ira Opper

SONNY MILLER MEMORIAL – 7.18.14 Sonny’s passing has left a huge hole in the surfing universe… and in my heart. My name is Ira Opper. I’m a sports television Producer. I first met Sonny in 1986 while surfing out at Pillbox…. he lived a few houses down from me in Solana Beach. At the time, I was producing the Surfer Magazine TV series for ESPN. I’d seen Sonny’s photos published in Surfer Magazine and was impressed with his innovative use of flash fill lighting in water photography. Here was this quirky 26-year old kid oozing with talent and personality living down the street and I knew an interview with him would make an entertaining segment for the show. I asked – he agreed and we shot the interview him on the beach at Pillbox. I was immediately drawn to his wacky style, big voice, exuberant personality, and passion for photography. We became fast friends. We surfed, hung out, and of course laughed. ESPN had just gone global and they wanted another season of Surfer TV for their “Hot Summer Nights” prime time programming block. When I started casting for a host, my funny talented friend Sonny was on the short list. He had the quintessential California surfer look, the attitude, and that rock star voice. Everyone at Surfer Magazine loved the guy and thought he was the perfect choice. Not certain he wanted to be a “talking head ” Sonny reluctantly took the job as host. I was stoked and knew he would rise to the occasion. With Sonny on board we now had a great photographer and a...
In Requiem for the Surf Rider Sonny Miller by Josh Gilliland

In Requiem for the Surf Rider Sonny Miller by Josh Gilliland

My cousin Sonny Miller passed away after a heart attack on July 8, 2014. He died six days after his mother died from Dementia. He was one of the most dynamic individuals I have ever known. Sonny traveled the world making surfing movies. His resume included a long list of surfing classics, including Riding Giants, Searching for Tom Curren, and the James Bond movieDie Another Day. He was also the announcer at the end of Blue Crush. His Instagram photos were always of great adventures across the globe. My cousin was an amazing photographer. Sonny had worldwide success because he was one of the best photographers on the planet. Part of my love of photography was inspired heavily from him when I was a child. I would touch base with him and find out he was doing something awesome, like going to Hawaii with the Roxy Girls. That certainly made me re-think my career choices. Sonny’s company was World Wave Pictures, which made me think: What is the legal definition of a wave? According to case law, “A wave is a naturally occurring phenomenon of the ocean — not a man-made object such as the floating poles, logs, and pilings… A wave may be a dangerous condition of the ocean, but, by its very nature, cannot be an unnatural condition.” Birmingham v. Fodor’s Travel Publications, 73 Haw. 359, 379-380 (Haw. 1992). Death is like a wave. It is a naturally occurring phenomenon. That does not take away the the fact it can knock someone off their feet. Sonny was a man of adventure, talent, and great compassion. He dutifully took care of his mother for seven years in...