Michael Adam Cobb was one of those people who graduated with honors from the school of real life. He always worked his tail off. And his life turned a corner, he liked to say, when he became sales manager for Channel Islands Surfboards nine years ago. After 20 years in the world of medical sales and management, he’d found his dream job, one where “work and play blur.” Once he started there, not a day went by when he wasn’t flying that CI flag on his T-shirt, hat, knapsack, or flip-flops — sometimes all at the same time — and with stickers on his car, notebooks, and computer.
Born and raised in Burbank, Cobb (or Cobber to many) began his lifelong love affair with sports at the early age of 6, playing youth football for the Vikings and riding motorcycles. By his teenage years, skateboarding and surfing began to tickle his fancy, but he continued to excel in football and went on to become a star quarterback at Burbank High School.
Mike worked hard and played harder. Whether it was camping trips and riding motorcycles through the deserts of California with his dad and uncle Duane, or surf trips to Panama, Indonesia, Hawai‘i, and his favorite, Fiji, Mike’s life fit the phrase “he lived to ride and rode to live.”
Mike was an incredibly kind and generous soul, the person who lent a hand or a board — or any gear that he had. Not long ago, Mike was gearing up alongside a fellow dirt-bike racer whose threads were torn and tattered. Immediately, Mike dug out brand-new extras he had in the car and gave them to his competitor. That’s just the kind of guy he was. Michael believed in taking care of people. One of his favorite parts of the job at Channel Islands was that he could facilitate donations to nonprofits both locally and throughout California.
Mike carved his way through life, with an optimistic ability to turn a negative into a positive. Over the years, Mike supported the people he loved through difficult times. Whether it was financial or emotional or both — Mike was there. But he encountered a tough obstacle during his frequent trips to New York. Mike was one of those people who never passed litter at his feet without picking it up. He found that environmental impulse hard to control in the big city.
Mike also cared deeply about animals. His one and only fight as a grom was with a kid who was beating on his dog — not Michael’s dog but the kid’s own dog. He supported animal rescue organizations and dreamed about one day opening a sanctuary. That big heart of his is why we brought home three dogs from the animal shelter — Dalai Mama, Foxy Roxy, and Harley Davidson. “We can’t take just one,” he protested, and asked them to bring out the littlest dog they had with the littlest chance of being adopted.
He was a fierce poker player and a little bit of a pool shark. He knew how to shake it on the dance floor. Mike was creative to his core, always paying attention to the details. He had a bitchin’ sense of style. You saw it in the clothes he wore, the bikes he drove, and the boards he rode.
He was a lover, not a fighter, but he fought hard against cancer, starting on New Year’s Eve, when he was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. It ended six months later, when he joined his grandparents, uncle, and the rest of his loving family in eternal life. May his spirit rise to the highest heights so he can thoroughly enjoy the drop when he visits with loved ones here on Earth.
Michael Adam Cobb left this earth on June 25 at the age of 52, surrounded by his loving family at home in Carpinteria. He reluctantly left behind his best friend and beloved wife and partner, Delia; their sweet cat, Xena; and their trio of Chihuahuas. An awesome son to Russell Cobb and Donna Ushkow and loving brother to Patrice, Michael also leaves behind nieces, nephews, and countless friends and colleagues from all corners of the world. For those who want to remember Michael, donations can be made in his name to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, East Valley Animal Shelter, or Santa Barbara Animal Rescue.