Friends mourn loss of fellow paddler who died near Berkeley Marina

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Friends are mourning the loss of an East Bay man who died after his outrigger canoe overturned in the Berkeley Marina over the weekend. 38-year-old Chris Cheung of Walnut Creek had been paddling alone before his body was found floating in the water Saturday afternoon.

Cheung was a member of the Dragon Max dragon boat team. Many are in disbelief that one of their own died in the same marina where they practice nearly every day.

"I was in shock, maybe even numb," said Judy Lee, a friend and teammate of Cheung's. "He always had a smile. Whenever I saw him he was smiling, walking down really casually."

Cheung lived in Walnut Creek and worked as a chiropractor in the South Bay. His teammates say he was always willing to help any way he could.

"Some doctors you know are afraid of liabilities or whatever,but Chris was just so giving. There was no hesitation for him to help people out and work with us," said Gary Young, another friend and teammate of Cheung's.

It's unclear what may have happened out on the water. Cheung's vest was found inside the canoe. It was also windy that day with gusts of up to 25 miles per hour.

"His skill level was good enough, high enough. It shouldn't have happened," said Young.

The coroner has not yet determined a cause and manner of death.
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