San Luis Obispo Co. Surfer Passes After Tragic Wipeout

Liam Alexander Taylor, 19, pronounced dead on Friday after suffering severe head and neck injuries

The Central California community of Cambria is in mourning after Liam Alexander Taylor, a surfer and lifeguard, passed away last Friday from severe head and neck injuries while surfing off of Moonstone Beach, according to The Tribune newspaper. Taylor was 19 years old.

Nicknamed “Skinny” by his close friends, Taylor reportedly went down with the lip on a set wave on Friday afternoon and was slammed against the seafloor, knocking him unconscious, according to KSBY News.

Two friends, Johnny McElgunn and Mason Smith, pulled Taylor from the water and administered CPR until emergency medical personnel arrived. Paramedics acted quickly to revive Taylor’s flatlined pulse. They succeeded, but he remained unresponsive, so the medical team rushed him to the Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo for further emergency treatment. At 8:15 PM PST on Friday evening, Taylor was pronounced dead.

"It feels pretty surreal," said Chase Tatham, a friend who grew up surfing with Taylor told The Tribune. "For him to be gone, I just never would have thought this could happen, especially on a day like this."

Taylor was remembered by his friends and family as a committed surfer who could handle himself in all conditions. He dedicated much of his service work to water safety, working this summer as a lifeguard in nearby Cayucos and volunteering in the past for Cambria’s North Coast Ocean Rescue, an emergency 911 dispatch crew. Taylor graduated from Coast Union High School in 2016 and was attending Santa Monica Community College at the time of the accident.

Brad Crampton, Taylor’s stepfather, says the family feels an “incredible emptiness.” A crowdfunding campaign is underway to erect a plaque at Cayucos Pier in Taylor’s honor.

"I just hope he'll be remembered for who he was,” Crampton told The Tribune, “somebody who was really a positive influence in the world and a great person because of his brightness and beauty.”