Two Surfers Die at SoCal’s Famed Swami Break

It’s been a rough week for the surfing community that extends from California to Hawaii. Swells have been up but not without tragedy.

Two well-known and respected surfers died at the famed swami surf break in Encinitas this week. A surfer riding a huge wave in Central California suffered a broken neck. And the search for Alec “Ace Cool” Cooke, a well-known big wave surfer was called off after he went missing in Waimea Bay during a big swell last week. 

In the stories from Encinitas, one of the surfers — 57-year-old Joy Froding — died from an apparent heart attack after riding what her fellow surfer that morning called the “most perfect wave of her life,” Phil Senese told the LA Times.

She had just returned to the lineup when she complained about chest pains, Senese told the newspaper. 

Kenneth Mann, a well-known local surfer who liked to hit the waves at night, was found deceased on the beach at about 5 am still tethered to his surfboard. The 61-year-old was known as a “midnight surfer” and had paddled out that night under a full moon. 

“Surfer dude, we all love you,” read a card placed at a makeshift memorial for the two lost surfers, according to the Times. 

At the world-renowned mavericks surf break in Central California, Shawn Dollar broke his neck in four places while riding waves estimated at around 25 feet. Dollar holds the world record for paddling into a 61-foot-wave.

Even though his injuries are severe, Dollar is expected to make a full recovery, according to the LA Times.