Sad story - a surfer drowned at Ocean Beach yesterday. I was driving from VFWs southward on Great Highway as an ambulance was going the other way. When you see an ambulance at OB, you always wonder whether the beach had its first shark attack or something like this.
I pulled into the lot at Sloat Ave., and there were 3 police cars and a park service car there, with officers interviewing a bunch of people. I saw a guy who had been giving a statement to an officer, and asked him what had happened. Turns out he and his wife, an SF Chronicle reporter, had been having coffee on the beach when they noticed the body floating inabout 1 foot of water and pulled him out.
CPR didn't work, and the guy was pronounced dead on arrival at UCSF. Here's the story from Surfpulse, follow the link for more detail.
At approximately 10 AM on Sunday, January 22, 2006, an approximately 30-year-old male wearing a wetsuit washed up at the foot of Sloat Boulevard at Ocean Beach in San Francisco...paramedics continued resuscitation attempts for at least another 10 minutes before transporting the person to UCSF Hospital.
Link: SURFPULSE - Feel the Pulse.
here's the story from the Chonicle. I must say I'm not sure including the comparison to floating trash is in good taste: Chron story on O.B. surf drowning
One notable detail is that there was no board or leash attached to the surfer. If he got separated from his board, that would explain why nobody saw him after he was unconscious. On occasion, I've been so excited that I've paddled out before securing my leash to my ankle - luckily, never on a heavy day and never without noticing before getting separated from my board in deep water. My guess is that his leash wasn't fully secured to his ankle and that once he was underwater the force of the waves was enough to pull it off. Otherwise it doesn't make sense - the way those leashes attach - almost 360 degrees of heavy duty velcro - is pretty solid; the leash itself always gives way before a properly fastened ankle cuff.
Anyway - I've been getting quite a few emails and calls from friends making sure I'm okay, as are lots of other OB surfers. I just hope they identify the guy soon. I hope there is some consoloation for his family and friends in the fact that he went out doing something he loved - you have to love it to paddle out on a solid winter day at OB.