Photo of Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz, a doctor who lived an amazing, unconventional life

The Astonishing Odyssey of Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz: Unraveling the Life Journey from Healer to Surfing Legend

Have you ever dreamed of leaving the rat race behind and embracing a life filled with adventure and freedom? Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz did just that, trading his career as a physician for a life of surfing and travel. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating story of this unconventional man, who chose to follow his heart and live on his own terms.

Early Life and Medical Career

Born in 1921, Dorian Paskowitz grew up in San Diego, California, where he developed a love for the ocean and surfing. After obtaining his medical degree from Stanford University, Paskowitz established a successful medical practice. However, he soon realized that the conventional life of a doctor wasn’t fulfilling his deep desire for adventure and personal growth.

A Life-Changing Decision

In the early 1950s, Paskowitz made a bold decision to leave his medical practice and embark on a nomadic lifestyle. He traveled to Israel, where he volunteered at a hospital and introduced surfing to the locals. This experience ignited his passion for surfing, and he decided to dedicate himself to the sport.

The Surfing Family

After returning to the United States, Paskowitz fell in love and started a family with his wife, Juliette. Together, they had nine children and wholeheartedly adopted the surfing lifestyle as a family affair. Living out of a cozy 24-foot camper, they journeyed from one beach to another, homeschooling their children along the way. This unconventional way of living caught the attention of the media, and they soon became known as “the first family of surfing.”

The Paskowitz Surf Camp

In 1972, Doc, along with his family, established the Paskowitz Surf Camp, which quickly gained popularity among budding surfers. Nestled in San Clemente, California, the camp not only offered surf lessons but also gave guests a taste of the Paskowitz family’s nomadic way of life. As time went by, the camp drew in surf enthusiasts from across the globe, with many of them forging lifelong friendships with the family.

Health and Wellness Philosophy

Doc Paskowitz was a firm believer in the idea that true health and happiness could only be achieved by living in harmony with nature. He championed a holistic approach to wellness, emphasizing the importance of regular exercise, a wholesome diet, and plenty of time spent in the ocean. His enthusiasm for health and well-being went beyond his own family, as he eagerly imparted his wisdom to camp guests and friends alike.


We lost Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz in 2014, but his adventurous spirit, tenacity, and deep connection to the ocean live on. Doc’s one-of-a-kind journey has motivated many to chase after their own dreams and carve their paths in life. Keeping his memory alive, the Paskowitz family remains dedicated to spreading the joy of surfing and sharing their extraordinary way of living with the world.


The story of Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz is a testament to the power of pursuing one’s passions and staying true to oneself. He chose to break free from societal norms and expectations, embracing a life of adventure and connection with the natural world. As we learn about the inspiring life of this surfing legend, we’re reminded that sometimes, the most fulfilling path is the one we forge for ourselves.