Surfer Drowns In Newport Beach

As reported by Laylan Connelly for the OC Register.

A paddle out will be held this Sunday at the Ventura Pier for surfer Gregory Gladstone, who died on Saturday, January 23rd in the waters off Newport Beach during a big swell that brought 10-foot waves to the coast.

Gladstone, 38, lived in Newport Beach and was the father of two young children, a 6-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son. Although the long-time surfer has lived in Orange County for years, he grew up in Ventura County. The memorial service starts at 4 p.m., according to a family friend.

Lifeguards were alerted to an unattended surfboard at 15th street, and a possible missing surfer at about 9:50 a.m., according to spokeswoman Jennifer Schultz. Lifeguards originally reported the victim unconscious after they found him floating near the surfboard.

Gladstone was confirmed dead at Hoag Hospital after he was pulled from the big waves by lifeguards.  An autopsy has yet to reveal what happened to Gladstone.

Surf photographer Tom Cozad was on the beach when the board was spotted floating upside down, fins facing toward the sky. Then, the man's body was seen floating next to it.

"He drifted to the south, and that's why no one saw him. There was a glare. Everyone got on their cell phones. A lifeguard swam to the man, and then a paddleboarder," Cozad said.

Lifeguards pulled the victim aboard a Harbor Patrol  boat and took the surfer to the pier, where Newport firefighters and paramedics transported the victim to the hospital. Lifeguards did not declare the man dead that that time.