Previously/Elsewhere: SFFD Rescues Surfer Stranded On Ocean Beach Rocks, see also comments on this story on Richmond SF blog, Coast Guard Helicopter Rescues Surfer Stranded In Rocks KTVU
A surfer who was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter from the rocks near the Cliff House restaurant in San Francisco today is safe and dry at home tonight, and prepared to hit the waves again in the morning.
Surfer Tim Terry Jr., 23, was back at home in Santa Rosa watching TV at about 5:30 p.m. today, recovering from his high-profile ordeal earlier today that was witnessed by dozens of diners and beachgoers.
Terry headed to Ocean Beach this morning with a friend to surf for the first time in two years, he said.
“I used to surf all the time … from what I could remember I could paddle all day if I needed to,” Terry said.
However, once he paddled out past the break, he felt himself growing tired.
“By the time I got out there my arms were just noodles,” he said.
He told his friend he was struggling, and his friend paddled back to the beach to get help. Meanwhile, Terry made his way toward some rocks and waited on one for assistance.
The San Francisco Fire Department received word at 11:39 a.m. that a surfer was stranded. The Coast Guard was also notified and sent a 47-foot motor lifeboat and a helicopter.
Terry said he was expecting a boat but was surprised when the helicopter arrived.
“I saw the helicopter and thought, there’s no way that helicopter is going to pick me up,” he said.
A Coast Guard rescue swimmer was lowered down to the rock, where he hooked a harness around Terry. The two were then lifted up to the helicopter, then lowered once again and deposited onto Ocean Beach.
The rescue happened right outside the Cliff House restaurant, an employee there said.
“I’m pretty sure everyone enjoying their food got a good show,” Terry said.
Terry said the Coast Guard rescuers were friendly.
“One of (them) called me a rock star and I was like, ‘right now I am so embarrassed that I put everyone through this,'” he said.
This evening, he had told his dad what had happened but was waiting for a calm moment to tell his mom.
“She goes a little crazy when I do stupid stuff,” he said.
Despite his rocky return to surfing, Terry, an employee at a Santa Rosa REI store, said he plans to go back out with his friend on Tuesday, this time to Fort Cronkhite on the Marin side, where he learned to surf.
Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Jeremy Pichette said Terry was wise to seek help when he lost his strength.
“What this surfer did was, he made the right decision,” he said.
Pichette said Terry is the third surfer rescued from local waters since Christmas.
A good Samaritan pulled a surfer from the water in the Bodega Bay area, and on Dec. 27, the Coast Guard and Pillar Point Harbor crews rescued a surfer from the water off of Dunes Beach at dusk.