Recovery effort underway for surfer at Rodeo Beach

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A rescue mission for a surfer has turned into a recovery effort off Rodeo Beach in Marin County. (KGO-TV)

A rescue mission for a surfer has turned into a recovery effort off Rodeo Beach in Marin County. The victim is 40-year-old Dan Dafoe of San Rafael, who got in trouble Wednesday while surfing storm-enhanced big waves.

Rescue crews say they don't think Dafoe could have survived the night in the ocean off the coast of Rodeo Beach. With his wife, friends and relatives looking on, they started out first thing this morning to look for his body.

"We have window of about four to five hours that we could start searching for the victim. We have about 22 personnel assigned on land and water," said Randy Lavasseur, Golden Gate National Rec Area spokesperson.

Officials got the call yesterday at 5:30 p.m. that a surfer had a disappeared. They found no sign of him or his surfboard last night. They think the water temperature would be tough to survive overnight, but they said they also have to take into account how he was found.

"The victim was found face down by two additional surfers that knew the victim. They then swam over to him, provided CPR. While they were providing CPR, a wave came in and knocked all three of them loose and separated them, at which time the body then became missing," said Lavasseur.

A family friend said Dafoe did have issues with his heart, but at this point no one knows what happened to him. His family and friends say this was Dafoe's favorite spot to surf and to just be. Dafoe summed up how he felt about surfing in an article that appeared in the Marin Independent Journal eight years ago. He said: "Surfing makes me a better, happier person. It's my quiet time, my release. Life is about living. What better way to live than to be a surfer?"

Officials said they hope to get into some of the coves during low tide, but there is increased sense of urgency with a storm expected in the Bay Area tonight.
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