Article updated at 10:15 a.m. on Dec. 4

By Eric Heinz 

The San Deigo Medical Examiner’s has identified the surfer who died after struggling with the waves at Upper Trestles early Dec. 1 morning as Ellis John Manugo Pontillas, 53, who was listed as a resident of Orange County in the Examiner’s report.

Capt. Luke Weaver, the Camp Pendleton Media Engagement Office, said the Marine base’s fire department responded at 7:06 a.m. at the beach and attempted CPR. The man was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:35 a.m.

Rich Haydon, the superintendent of the California State Parks Orange Coast District, said the man was seen surfing Saturday morning. Haydon said other surfers said they saw him “struggling” with a duck dive after paddling out. The next time he was seen, he was floating in the water and unresponsive. Other surfers brought him immediately ashore.

An official cause of death had not yet been determined as of the report on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

According to the National Weather Services in San Diego, the entire Orange and San Diego County coastlines were under a beach advisory, and still are, at the time of the man’s death. It was forecast that the surf conditions were capable of creating rip currents and waves were estimated to be as high as 7 feet in some places. At Trestles, located just south of the San Clemente border, those waves can get bigger than the average, nearby breaks.

Article updated at 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 4, to include the identity of the surfer. 

Article updated at noon on Sunday, Dec. 2, to include comments from Rich Haydon. 

This is a developing story. More information will be provided when it becomes available.  

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