On Saturday afternoon a surfer died after a collision with another surfer at Southern California’s famed Rincon. The VC Star reports that Gerald “Gerry” Gilhool Jr., 51, an Ojai resident, had been out enjoying the run of large swell when the accident occurred around mid-day. Witnesses said he was up and riding down the line when he hit someone attempting to “roll” under the wave.
The other surfer had his head and nose cut by Gilhool’s fin. Gilhool went down but his wipeout did not seem remarkable.
Other surfers, watching the situation and seeing Gilhool was in trouble paddled him to shore on his board and provided medical aid until Ventura County firefighters arrived.
They also performed CPR while requesting a helicopter, saying the patient was in cardiac arrest.
He was taken by ambulance to Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura where he was pronounced dead.
Gilhool worked as a tour manager for the band Dawes, whose lead singer is married to the famous actress/singer Mandy Moore. She eulogized her friend on Instagram, writing, “Gerry was a towering presence and personality and if you were lucky enough to be in his orbit and you were a friend, his loyalty and love knew no bounds.”
He is survived by his young son.
A notable local pro told me, when reached for comment, that “The crowds (at Rincon) have been out of hand and there are tons and tons of people dropping in on everyone.”
Another local surfboard shaper, Jacob Elis, took to Instagram asking for answers. “Yo! Trying to get in touch with Rincon surfer named Augie or Aggie. He was involved in a collision with my friend Gerry Saturday midday. Gerry is dead, now. We need the other side of the story.”
An extremely unfortunate side effect of surfing’s exploding popularity.