Sequim surfer drowns off Crescent Beach Road near Joyce

Autopsy set today

JOYCE — A surfer who drowned Sunday off Crescent Beach Road in Joyce has been identified as Sequim resident Gabriel Conners, the deputy Clallam County coroner said Tuesday.

An autopsy is scheduled on the 32-year-old man’s body today, said Nathan Millett, deputy coroner.

Next of kin has been notified, Millett said.

Fire District 4 personnel, just off a large barn fire the day before, tried to come to Conners’ aid just after 1 p.m. Sunday after receiving a report of a drowned surfer at 2860 Crescent Beach Road. Twelve fire department personnel, including two paramedics with the others being EMTs and firefighters, responded to the report, Fire Chief Greg Waters said.

Conners was found about 50 yards offshore.

“Other surfers tried to bring him back but had difficulty due to the rip currents,” Waters said.

“They had got him back to the beach when our responders were arriving. We started CPR and other advanced life support, but unfortunately it was to no avail.

“He was in a full wetsuit, including booties and gloves. We believe he was down for 12 minutes before he was taken to shore,” Waters continued. “We don’t know the cause; there were no obvious signs.”

“The fellow surfers are to be commended for their incredible efforts to get him back,” he added.

Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said that Connors was wearing a 3 mm wetsuit, “which doesn’t provide a lot of body warmth. It was a fair-weather-style wetsuit.”

According to Down to Scuba’s guide for wetsuits, at downtoscuba.com, a 3 mm wetsuit is best in water temperatures ranging from 77 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. The Strait of Juan de Fuca water temperature this time of year is about 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at lleach@soundpublishing.com.

Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at brian.gawley@soundpublishing.com.

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