Jason Henry Pollak, a competitive surfer and practitioner of jujitsu who founded an organization that encouraged young people to offer their time to help those less fortunate, died at Southampton Hospital following an accident. He was the passenger in a car that crashed into a tree on Flying Point Road in Southampton, just down the road from the house where he was living, on April 19. He was 24.
Mr. Pollak, a Water Mill native, briefly attended the Ross School in East Hampton and graduated from Southampton High School in 2007. He will be remembered as an energetic, vibrant, enthusiastic, and loving young man, his family said. “He loved life and was surrounded by people who loved and appreciated his unique qualities,” his grandmother Meryl Bunim Koopersmith of New York City wrote.
At 11 years old, he began surfing Southampton beaches and eventually went on to surf in California, Hawaii, Indonesia, Costa Rica, and other challenging waters, “never tiring of the discipline and strength that he needed to compete, always searching the biggest wave,” his grandmother said.
That same drive led him to jujitsu, in which he reached the level of blue belt and won gold in a competition in early April.
He was born at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead on Aug. 1, 1989, to Andrew M. Pollak of Southampton and the former Pamela Goldman of Water Mill, both of whom survive. In addition to Ms. Koopersmith, he is survived by a younger brother, Brian Pollak of Southampton, and his grandparents Harvey and Terry Pollak of Bridgehampton and Steve and Michelle Goldman of New York City.
He attended Hawaii Pacific University for two years before returning home about two years ago. He was working toward a bachelor’s degree in economics online and had only a few credits left to complete.
From 2000 to 2008, he was a surfing instructor at the Flying Point Surf School in Southampton. From February 2011 to May 2013 he ran the Jump Off, “the first nationwide social network for party people,” his family said. He recently joined his father’s business, RailexUSA, which has headquarters in Riverhead and shipping facilities in Rotterdam, N.Y., and California, as the marketing director. He had worked in regional sales at the company since 2008.
In the past year, after much travel and having met others with similar passions, he founded a community service-oriented organization called Worldwide Psychos, “a group for thrill seekers, enthusiasts, and people willing to give back by rolling up their sleeves and donating their time and money to support the efforts,” his website said. Members have helped build houses for the needy, for example. His grandmother said he wanted a “show-stopper name” for the organization that would attract a younger set. The foundation will go on in his memory.
“His passing leaves a great hole in the hearts of his family. We know he rides a great wave above us with that radiant smile on his face and that magnificent grace in his body,” his family said.
A graveside service was held at Shaarey Pardes Accabonac Grove Cemetery in Springs on April 20, with Cantor Debra Stein officiating.
A paddle-out tribute will be held at Flying Point Beach in Water Mill on Aug. 1, Mr. Pollak’s birthday, at sunset. Surfers will gather at about 6 p.m.
His family has suggested donations of money or time to Worldwide Psychos, 889 Harrison Avenue, Riverhead 11901, or online at worldwidepsychos.org.