Fellow surfers reportedly noticed 38 year old Gregory Gladstone's board floating unattended in the water near 15th Street at Newport Point around 9:50 a.m. on Saturday. Lifeguards fished him senseless from the water into a harbor patrol boat near the pier. Surfline reported Gladstone was wearing a wedding band.
The harbor patrol rushed him to the pier, where he was quickly transported to nearby Hoag Hospital by emergency personnel. He was pronounced dead at Hoag shortly thereafter.
|Flickr user BillGraf|
All week, large swells from recent El Niño-driven storms have been pummeling Orange County's beaches. On Thursday and Friday, surfers reported some of the scariest conditions in a long time for Newport.
Stormy conditions made the waves difficult to read. Several experienced locals spoke of double wave hold-downs after wiping out, a rare phenomenon for the usually tame beach breaks in the area. Even seasoned surfers seemed to be afraid out there.
“It was heavy out there…like lump in your throat heavy,” said one. Saturday had died down just a little, but the short intervals and continuing power left over from the storm swell made for extra dangerous 6-10 foot and bigger conditions. But most agreed it was a rare, good day for Newport, with big tubes spitting down the beach…