Local surfers are mourning the loss of one of their own this week after the death of an El Granada man on Sunday.
Richard Coursen, who went by Rocky, was surfing the jetty at Surfer’s Beach that morning when fellow surfers found him facedown in the water. They pulled the 65-year-old to shore and began administering CPR until an ambulance arrived.
Coursen was transported to Seton Medical Center in Daly City and was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to Coastside Fire Chief Paul Cole. A cause of death has not yet been released.
El Granada resident Martin Gates was at Surfer’s Beach when the incident happened and called Coursen’s daughter to alert her. Gates didn’t know Coursen personally, but says he knew him from surfing the same spots on the coast.
“He had a great energy in and out of the water,” Gates said. “We’re still reeling from the loss that we won’t see his smile again and his exuberance for being a surfer.”
A small memorial to Coursen has appeared at Surfer’s Beach. Along with flowers, someone placed a granola bar — Coursen’s favorite energy boosting snack before surfing, says Gates — and a card for Coursen’s business, Not When the Surf’s Up Home Services & Repair.
Surfer Jeff Clark says Coursen was a longtime friend, and that he had surfed with and made boards for his friend. Clark says Coursen was “a real people person.”
“I remember when he started (surfing) and he was just so excited about it,” Clark said Monday. “He was the kind of guy that would always take the time for ‘How’re you doing? How are the waves?’ He was super stoked on life.”
Gates said Coursen’s exuberance was evident every time he went surfing. He recalled watching Coursen get pounded by the surf or take bad wipeouts, and every time he emerged from the water fellow surfers would ask how it was.
“He’d say ‘It was great!’” Gates said. “We all knew he’d say that and we asked it anyway.”
Gates added that local surfers are working to organize a paddle-out ceremony in Coursen’s memory that would be held at the jetty or Ross’ Cove.
“His love of surfing extended to his love of life, and he really wanted to pass that on to everybody he came across,” he said. “He was just a really positive, humble man we’re going to miss.”