Gurney “Lee” Collins, III was born in Goldsboro, NC on June 3, 1957, to Gurney and Judith Collins. On Friday, September 2, 2022, at 65, Gurney left to take a well-deserved surf trip to paradise…where there is no pain and the waves are perfect all the time.
As a child, he was an explorer, full of curiosity. He grew up on the banks of the Trent River in New Bern, NC, where at low tide he loved finding and collecting old bottles. He always loved the water, from fishing and waterskiing to bottle hunting and surfing saltwater ran through his veins.
After graduating from New Bern High School in 1976, Gurney briefly worked in the Florida Keys before eventually landing in Virginia Beach, VA where, in the early 80’s, he started a surfboard repair business.
After investing in some tools and foam, Gurney taught himself how to shape a surfboard and Hotline Surfboards was born. Initially a surfboard manufacturing business, Gurney shaped and sold surfboards to shops up and down the coast. The business evolved, and in 1984, Gurney opened the surfboard showroom at “the loop” in Virginia Beach. THE Hotline Soul Team was soon formed, and the Brotherhood of Thrill Seekers, Slashers and Dogs ruled the east coasts’ surfing contest circuit and Hotline was on the map, staying there for the next 30 years.
Hotline hosted many surf and skateboard competitions through the years, providing organized competition for the surf and skate community. But it was at his Hotline Summer Surf Camp that Gurney was able to share his true passion for surfing with so many others. “He loved teaching those kids how to surf” and with his kind, caring and knowledgeable ways, he made an impact on so many young people’s lives.
Gurney was lucky enough to know and realize his passion for surfing; he once called his wife, Cammi, from Peru, while on a surf trip there, to tell her that he needed to extend his trip because, as he said, “I was born to do this.”
After much thought and some soul searching, Gurney and Cammi decided to close the shops in Virginia Beach. In 2012 they moved to Beaufort, NC where Gurney worked to help his brother-in-law, Brent, open and establish Beaufort Inlet Seafood, where he made many friends and is loved and respected by all.
Gurney was truly interested in other people and once said, “always keep an open mind and always try to learn from people.” He was kind, compassionate and left a lasting impression on everyone he met. He loved being outdoors and working in his yard and he truly appreciated the beauty of nature, from the sunsets to the stars. He was a great storyteller and looked forward to hosting his grandchildren at “Camp Grand G'' every summer.
He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Cammi Green Collins, three children; a daughter, Amanda Collins Uplinger and husband Trent of Havelock, NC; sons, Gurney Lee Collins, IV of Nags Head, NC and Geoffrey Lane “Peppy” Collins and wife Whitney of Virginia Beach, VA; mother, Judith Collins Warlen and husband Stan of Newport, NC; sisters, Catherine Collins Fulcher and husband Brent of Beaufort, NC; Virginia “Ginny” Collins Conner and husband David of New Bern, NC; five grandchildren who lovingly called him “Grand G”; Taylor Collins, Skylar Collins, Augustus “Gus” Uplinger, Waylon Uplinger and Fischer Collins; and a host of nieces and nephews who adored him.
Gurney was preceded in death by his father, Gurney Lee Collins, Jr. and his devoted companion Winston.
There will be a celebration of Gurney “Lee’s” life at 3 p.m., Sunday, September 11th at the home of his sister and brother-in-law, Catherine and Brent Fulcher, 125 Brickhouse Lane, Beaufort, NC 28516 officiated by Rev. Bill Hooper with a reception immediately following the service.
A beachside celebration and paddle-out will be held in Virginia Beach later this fall, “before it gets too cold outside.”
Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at www.mundenfuneralhome.net
Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home & Crematory in Morehead City, NC.