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Body found on Santa Barbara beach identified as former professional surfer

Authorities have confirmed that a body found over the weekend on Hendry’s Beach in Santa Barbara was that of Chris Brown, a former professional surfer and commercial fisherman.

Investigation was continuing into the manner and cause of Brown’s death, according to Anthony Wagner, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Detectives and crime scene investigators responded at about 12:15 p.m. Saturday to the shoreline about 600 yards east of Arroyo Burro Beach County Park, Wagner said. The area is below the east end of the bluff-top Douglas Family Preserve.

Brown, 48, of Santa Barbara, was a standout professional surfer in the 1990s, winning the Professional Surfing Association of America championship in 1994, as well as other competitions.

He also was known as a big-wave surfer, frequenting epic breaks such as Mavericks in Northern California.

Brown first attracted notice as a teenager surfing the popular break at Rincon, and competed at the junior level before turning pro.

He eventually gave up professional surfing and became a professional urchin diver, but was known to frequent Rincon and other local breaks when the surf was up.

The surfing media, including Surfer Magazine, was full of tributes to Brown on Monday.

“I will always remember his huge smile, magnetic warmth and that beautiful wraparound cutback,” former professional surfer Shaun Tomson said in a tweet.

Brown is survived by his wife and daughter. Details on services were pending Monday.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at tbolton@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.
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