Boogie Boarder Killed Near Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz

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The Surf Channel is sorry to report that a boogie boarder was pronounced dead after getting sucked into the ‘toilet bowl’ near Steamer Lane on Friday afternoon. Santa Cruz saw surf in the 10-12ft range pumping through Its Beach and Steamer Lane through out the day.

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Steamer Lane has incredible surf when it’s big, but there is no doubt it can be dangerous. Photo: O’Neill

Cliff-side spectators and two ski rescue operators discovered James Zenk struggling initially near Its, but they eventually left him alone after he assured them that he was ok. Zenk was then pulled into the toilet bowl by a huge set and slammed against the rocks multiple times. Rescue swimmers went in after the boogie boarder, but were unable to get to him in time, as they were also being slammed up against the cliffside. After the Mountain View resident was rushed to the hospital and given CPR, he was pronounced deceased.

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Entering and exiting the lineup at Steamer Lane is a battle alone. Photo: O’Neill

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that the city fire department is reviewing their policies for rescue teams near the area to avoid similar situations in the future.  

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As a college graduate from California State University, Long Beach, Emily enters the world with a Bachelor's Degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies and a passion for surfing, cultural diversity and serving others.


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