UPDATED: The Coastside surf community is reeling today after learning that one of the most talented young student-athletes on the coast has died. Malcolm Feix died Sunday while surfing with friends at Pomponio State Beach south of Half Moon Bay.
The San Mateo County coroner confirmed that Feix, 20, of Moss Beach, died but did not give a cause of death. Sources at CalFire say Feix drowned. Dispatch logs show firefighters being called to the scene at 3:28 p.m. on Sunday.
In a statement issued Monday afternoon, Bill Wolcott, public safety superintendent for California State Parks' Santa Cruz district, said Feix was in his fifth year as a seasonal lifeguard this summer. Wolcott wrote that Feix was off duty and surfing with friends at the time of the incident. Another unidentified friend, who was working in the lifeguard tower at Pomponio at the time, pulled Feix from the water, Wolcott wrote.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Malcolm’s family, our Half Moon Bay community, the State Parks family, and the first responders that worked so hard to bring him back," Wolcott wrote in the prepared statement.
Feix was well known among those who love water sports in the area. Feix was a star on the Half Moon Bay High School water polo and surf teams. He captained the water polo team coached by Justin Ferdinand.
"He was just an amazing student-athlete," said Ferdinand, who was water polo coach and the school's athletic director until recently. "It's really difficult to put into words. He was a great student. Very motivated. Very well-liked by the entire Half Moon Bay High School community.
"Malcolm was the type of kid you always wanted to be around," he said Monday morning. "Really, really special person. He is someone that I will never forget."
Feix was much more than a talented athlete. He carried a 4.5 GPA out of Half Moon Bay High School and was enrolled at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he was studying electrical engineering.
In addition, Feix was a seasonal lifeguard for California State Parks. Recently, he was credited for doing his part during the rescue of a fellow surfer at Montara State Beach earlier this month. His supervisor at State Parks declined to comment on Monday morning.
The Review profiled Feix in 2015 and he talked about why he loved surfing.
"It gets me back in my groove if I'm not feeling it," he said at the time. "I get a good surf in and I'm stoked and in a good mood again. It's something I can always rely on."