01/09/2012 01:07 pm ET

Sean Collins Memorial 'Paddle Out' In Huntington Beach (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

About 2,000 people gathered at Huntington Beach on Sunday to celebrate the life of surfing legend Sean Collins, who collapsed and died the day after Christmas.

Hundreds of surfers took to the water for a "paddle out" and created a circle the size of a football field, reports A paddle out is a Hawaiian tradition in which surfers form a circle in the water to memorialize someone who has passed. Surfers can hold hands, pray and toss flowers into the center of the circle.

Collins was renowned for creating a real-time phone alert system in the 1980s to let surfers know which beaches have the best waves. As the Associated Press notes, the days of "surfin' safari" journeys, when surfers would drive for miles in search of waves, ended thanks to his service. Collins called his system "Surfline," and it evolved over the years to become a website service providing surf forecasts, beach cameras and news in the surf world.

According to the Daily Mail, receives more than 1.5 million hits per month.

He is survived by his wife Daren and his sons Tyler and A.J.