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Update: Boogie Boarder Dies in Big Waves in Santa Cruz

Witnesses watched in horror as the man was thrown into the rocks.

Update 1/26/14:

A boogie boarder who died after being pulled from the ocean in Santa Cruz on Friday has been identified as James Zenk, 47, of Mountain View, according to the county coroner's office.

Shortly before 5 p.m. on Friday, witnesses alerted emergency crews to a man in distress in the water at a popular surfing location near Lighthouse Point, according to Santa Cruz fire Battalion Chief Rob Young. 

Zenk was caught in dangerous waters situated between rocks and the mainland, Young said.

Three rescue swimmers entered the water from the cliffs above the boarder while two rescue swimmers arrived in rescue boats, according to Young.

Zenk was rescued by the swimmers and taken to shore, Young said. He was then transported to Dominican Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Two rescue swimmers were treated for injuries and released, Young said.

The Santa Cruz Fire Department is urging the community to be aware of ocean conditions prior to entering the water and be prepared for changes. 

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1/25/14:

By Brad Kava

A boogie boarder who got caught in the "Toilet Bowl" by Lighthouse Point died Friday at 5 p.m. after he was smashed against the rocks in high surf.

Witnesses told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that lifeguards asked the man if he needed help, but he declined and continued in rough surf. But then he was pulled into the rocks. 

After two attempts, rescue swimmers and lifeguards on Personal Water Craft from the Santa Cruz Fire Department got hold of the man and took him to Cowells Beach, where he was given life support. He was taken to Dominican Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

The Santa Cruz Fire Department is urging the community to be aware of ocean conditions prior to entering the water and be prepared for changes.

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