Capt. Aaron Ching of the Santa Cruz area California Highway Patrol (right) is handed a redwood surfboard made by Neftali Espino of Honeymoon Surfboards on Dec. 15 during a farewell ceremony of Ching as he heads off to retirement. (Tarmo Hannula)

While some retirees may sail off into the sunset, California Highway Patrol Capt. Aaron Ching is taking a new approach to that old adage as he prepares to paddle into the sunset.

Thanks to Neftali Espino of Honeymoon Surfboards and efforts by CHP staff, Ching was handed the new 6-foot handcrafted redwood surfboard on Dec. 15 during a retirement ceremony for him at the CHP Aptos office.

With about 30 personnel on hand, a dispatcher read a final farewell statement over the CHP patrol radio: “We bid you a fond farewell today, after 27 years of exemplary service. You began your journey at the CHP Academy on May 20, 1996.”

He started out as a motorcycle officer and went on to become a sergeant in 2007. In 2013, Ching was promoted to lieutenant and commander of the judicial protection section.

On top of a list of other duties, Ching became a captain in 2018 and transferred to the Santa Cruz area CHP in 2020.

“You have been dedicated to the community and played a number of significant roles as a first responder,” the dispatcher said. “Capt. Ching, you are leaving an indelible mark with the CHP and the community.”

Born and raised in the Hawaiian Islands, Ching moved to California to pursue a career with the CHP. As a captain, he has overseen 63 uniformed personnel.

Maureen McCarthy presented a framed certificate of recognition to Ching on behalf of assemblywoman Gail Pellerin’s office.

“I will miss all of you,” Ching said. “This is a bittersweet exit; I will always be thinking of you.”

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