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Surfer in critical condition after accident at Mavericks

He is hospitalized after almost drowning at the surf spot near Half Moon Bay. One witness says the surfer suffered a brain injury but was moving his arms and legs.

January 24, 2011|By Ruben Vives and Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times
  • A surfer identified as Jacob Trette lies on sled driven by Russell Ord after the injured man was found floating in the water.
A surfer identified as Jacob Trette lies on sled driven by Russell Ord after… (Nikki Brooks )

A surfer remained hospitalized in critical condition Sunday after almost drowning a day earlier at Mavericks surfing area near Half Moon Bay, according to news reports and interviews with authorities.

Paramedics called to the scene about 10 a.m. Saturday found a 30-year-old surfer who had been rescued and revived by other surfers and an emergency medical technician, with the help of bystanders, said David Cosgrave, a battalion chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The surfer was flown to Stanford University Medical Center. Officials did not give the man's name, but GrindTV, an action sports website, identified the surfer as Jacob Trette. Friends told officials with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office that he was an experienced surfer but had surfed Mavericks only once before. Sheriff's officials said he is from Southern California.

An Internet post from Frank Quirarte, a photographer who witnessed the incident, said the surfer had suffered a brain injury but was moving his arms and legs.

"They're lowering his body temp so he doesn't use as much oxygen and keeping him heavily sedated," the post read. Too "early to tell how much damage has been done, if any."

A big-wave surf contest had been planned for Saturday, but it was scrapped apparently because waves weren't high enough. GrindTV reported that the surfers had moved closer to the shore because the waves were breaking more consistently there.

But a 25-foot wave took the pack of surfers by surprise. Video footage shows surfers trying to paddle over the wave, but several surfers were sucked in when it crashed down. The footage shows another monstrous wave striking a surfer identified as Trette.

Russell Ord, a photographer who was on a personal watercraft, moved in to pull a different surfer out of the water. As he was taking the surfer toward shore, he came across Trette floating face-up in the white water, according to GrindTV.

Ord jumped in and pulled Trette onto the rescue sled attached to his vessel and took him to shore, the website said.

ruben.vives@latimes.com

robert.faturechi@latimes.com

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