Over the 4th of July weekend some of the biggest swells of the year hit southern California and with this came great surf and perfect waves, but at the cost of a veteran lifeguard. Ben Carlson lost his life saving a swimmer on Sunday July 6th.
They held a paddle out in his honor recently in Newport Beach. For those of you who don’t know a paddle out is done in surf communities when someone of the community dies and in this friends and community members paddle out and usually form a circle and some sort of prayer is said.
I can personally relate to this because I was surfing in Newport Beach that day about two jetties north and about an hour before the drowning occurred. I have surfed all over the world the waves that day where the heaviest I have ever experienced by far. I rode a few monsters waves that day and had blast but my 3rd drop was way too late and I got caught, went over the falls and was held under for a solid 15 seconds as my board tombstoned. As I fought to the surface it was then I realized how big and heavy the waves where. This unusual swell was being caused by an offshore storm in the Pacific.
My best friend who is a Newport local said it was the biggest waves he had seen in his 4 years of living there. As we sat and eat lunch we saw the helicopters circling above and we knew something was wrong, 20 minutes later the news broke in the community and everyone was very sad.
We thank you for your service Ben and we at snow and swell brains send out condolence to the family and friends.