A California Highway Patrol helicopter located a not-so troubled surfer more than two miles from where he was reported to have been distressed off of the San Francisco coast tonight.
The U.S. Coast Guard received a call at 8:11 p.m. reporting the possibly distressed surfer near the Cliff House, a Coast Guard petty officer said.
The CHP helicopter was requested by the Coast Guard to assist with the search and responded by searching the surf line, CHP Officer James Andrews said.
The San Francisco Fire Department, which had a command post set up on the beach just south of the Cliff House, directed the helicopter to the surfer’s last known location.
Searching ever farther south, the helicopter located the only person who was in or around the surf almost two-and-a-half miles from the Cliff House–near Rivera Street, Andrews said.
“We were searching the surf line thinking, ‘There’s nothing out there,” he said.
A surfer was walking out of the surf line toward the Great Highway, Andrews said. “The only person out there was the one that got out of the water.”
Because of the distance between the man and the fire department command post, the helicopter landed on the beach and a CHP paramedic contacted the surfer, who said he was uninjured.
“He had been surfing up by the Cliff House without a tether and became separated from his board. Someone said he was distressed. He said he never was,” Andrews said.
A woman, who self-identified as a surfer and had been out near Ocean Beach earlier this evening, reported that the waves in the area were relatively calm.
“It doesn’t look scary and horrendous like the waves off of Ocean Beach,” she said referring to the waves breaking near the Cliff House.
The woman, who was in a car traveling south along Great Highway, said that the beach remained packed even as darkness fell and that numerous emergency vehicles had been clustered around the Fulton Street portion of the beach.
Patricia Decker, Bay City News