Coroner identifies beginner surfer killed in rough water along Mendocino coast

The Mendocino County Coroner's Office Monday released the name of a New York man who died Thursday in rough water along the Mendocino coast when friends attempted to show him how to surf.

William Guthrie-Goss, 25, of Garrison, New York, had a new surfboard purchased by three California friends. Two went into the water with him outside the mouth of Big River, just south of the town of Mendocino, according to authorities. A fourth friend remained on a nearby bluff to take pictures.

The trio quickly got into trouble with the turbulent conditions. One man was able to get out of the water but Guthrie-Goss and another friend were pulled into rocky coves at the base of the headlands, pounded by high surf.

Volunteers from the nearby Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department and state parks launched a difficult rescue. State parks lifeguard Ean Miller got to one man and moved him away from the cove to volunteers on a Jet Ski who got him to a rescue boat then to shore. Miller recovered the body of Guthrie-Goss and life-saving measures were taken but the man was pronounced dead.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707-521-5412 or On Twitter@rossmannreport.

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