Legendary Monterey Bay surfer Peter Davi, 45, drowned at Ghost Tree on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Monterey County Coroner’s Office.
According to Ghost Tree local Don Curry, the day started out incredibly. Thirty foot sets that stretched out to 70’+ wave faces rolled into the scenic Ghost Tree. It was the biggest Ghost Tree had ever been ridden.
In the mid-morning, Davi, who was paddling into the waves, broke his leash and began swimming in. One tow team offered Davi a ride in but the surfer refused. Another tow team offered Davi a PFD but again Davi refused according to Curry.
Later in the afternoon Santa Cruz surfers Anthony Ruffo and Osh Bartlett came across Davi’s lifeless body floating in a kelp patch. They quickly dumped their boards and picked the body up, according to Bartlett. Only then did they realize it was their good friend Davi.
“By the time we got to him he was white as ghost,” explained Bartlett. “It was obvious that it was too late. I’m guessing he was floating for 30 minutes or so.”
Medical aid was administered, but Davi was pronounced dead at 1:28 p.m., the office reported.
“It shocked me, I’ve known Peter since he was 13 and I’ve known him all of his surfing life,” said Curry. “I watched him surf Pipe and the North Shore and it is heavy to see a guy with that much experience die.”
“I’m just very sad for his kid,” said Bartlett. “He’s got to be just tore up.”
The lineup, which started out dramatic and switched to traumatic after news of Davi’s death found its way back to the lineup, was unbelievable: The pumping surf, the 20+ skis in the water, and then the horrific news.
“We are always watching each others back,” said Curry. “We are extremely aware of everyone in the game. But when you paddle in, you are not really in the same game, because you are way inside.”
Funeral and memorial arrangement have not been determined yet.