Authorities say 55-year-old Chin Shaun Tom was fishing with a friend near Horseshoe Cove on Saturday morning.
Sheriff's officials say Tom either was swept into the ocean by the 10- to 12-foot swells reported that day, or fell off a cliff into the water. Tom's body was recovered by a sheriff's helicopter crew about 100 yards offshore.
His friend also had to be rescued from the rocky area by the helicopter.
Horseshoe Cove is part of Salt Point State Park, located about 90 miles north of San Francisco.