CANNON?BEACH — The U.S. Coast Guard rescued two surfers in distress near Cannon Beach Monday after they got stuck in a small cove – what local authorities sometimes call the “surfers depository” – just north of Indian Beach in Ecola State Park.

“That’s what we call it, because it takes up all the surfers that don’t know any better and deposits them there,” said Lt. Matt Gardner of Cannon Beach Fire and Rescue, which was first on scene. The two male surfers, 30 and 32, were from the Portland area, but their names were unavailable by press time.

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River received a report from Cannon Beach Fire and Rescue at approximately 1:35 p.m. that two surfers were trapped in a small cove at the north end of Indian Beach at Ecola State Park. The helicopter crew, diverted from a training flight, arrived around 1:45 p.m. and spotted the surfers, who by that point had been stuck on a rocky outcropping in the north side of the cove for more than 45 minutes.

Gardner said the weather conditions were ugly Monday, with larger than average swells for that area. He added that his department offered to have two of its lifeguards go out to the cove and retrieve the surfers.

“We thought it would be safer to hoist them,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Nate Littlejohn, adding that the helicopter crew didn’t want anyone else getting stuck in the cove.

The crew lowered a rescue swimmer from a hover approximately 125 feet above the rocks and successfully hoisted both surfers to safety. The helicopter crew then returned the surfers to Indian Beach.

“I think their egos were a little bit damaged,” said Gardner of the two surfers. “But ... it was a matter of getting them out of trouble.

“It was just an ugly day – bigger surf yesterday. They could have gotten beat up on the rocks if the right waves came in.”

Gardner said surfers getting stuck in the cove north of Indian Beach is a regular occurrence.

“What happens is people try to fight the rip tide instead of riding it out (to sea) and paddling south to catch a wave set” back into shore, he said.

Littlejohn said these hoists, which don’t cost those rescued any money, usually don’t cost the taxpayers any more money than usual.

“We’re out doing training flights all the time,” he said. “Pilots have to stay up to standards to do certain missions, so they’re always out there practicing.”

No injuries were reported. Video of the rescue can be found at main.php?g2_itemId=1658143

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