Parkite drowns while kite boarding in Seattle |

Parkite drowns while kite boarding in Seattle

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

While kite boarding on Lake Washington in Seattle, a 46-year-old Parkite, known for his zest for life, drowned last week.

Daniel Bergin was a pilot for Delta Airlines who enjoyed mountaineering, skiing and sailing. The Navy veteran, whose body was found in the water, went kite boarding Thursday in high winds.

"He was a flyer, he was a skiing instructor and a sailing instructor," said Greg Norwine, a friend of Bergin’s who operates the Windworks Sailing Center in Seattle, where Bergin was an instructor.

Bergin’s friends knew him as "Captain Dan."

"I always tried to keep up with him, but never really succeeded," younger brother Mike Bergin said. "He did the same things I like to do, he just did them better."

The accomplished mountaineer climbed Mount Rainier five times and made about 300 landings on aircraft carriers during his military career, according to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

At the time of his death, Bergin was in the process of sailing around the world, said Norwine, adding that Bergin had sailed from the Caribbean to Seattle on his way to Alaska.

"He was in the middle of a circumnavigation around the world," Norwine said.

Bergin was the Windworks Sailing Center’s most "enthusiastic" and "motivated" teacher, Norwine said in a telephone interview Monday.

"Sailing was his real passion," Norwine said, adding that sailing around the world requires extreme mettle. "There has been nobody who has been more excited and enthusiastic about being on the water."

Bergin had put his pilot career on hold to circumnavigate the globe in a 53-foot sailboat he named after his father, Norwine said.

"My PAPA taught me how to sail at age 2," Bergin wrote on his Web site at "I do not remember NOT sailing. I raced dinghies in grade school on the Finger Lakes of [New York.]"

Norwine called Bergin "a very, very passionate individual."

Bergin graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy where he competed with the school’s sailing team "where we were the NCAA [national champion] all 4 years I was there," he wrote on his Web site.

He was an international mariner, who sailed in exotic areas including Israel, Morocco and Singapore.

Norwine praised his friend’s outgoing personality and wit, which revealed itself on Bergin’s Web site.

"I live in Park City, Utah (the skiing is not too bad there )," the Web site states. "Introducing sailing (or skiing) to someone new to the sport is a blast, and I love to see the excitement on their faces as they make the perfect tack or find the best anchorage."

To kite board, participants strap themselves to a parachute-like sail to harness wind so they can skim along the water at high speeds on a board about the size of a wakeboard.

A memorial for Bergin is planned in Seattle and in lieu of flowers his family wants donations made to the National Ability Center in Park City. For more information contact the NAC at (435) 649-3991. Family members expect a memorial service for Bergin to occur in Park City in December.

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