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Renowned Bodega Bay surfer drowns in Mexico

  • Noel Robinson surfs through a frothy breaker at the Sonoma Coast State Beach at Goat Rock in 2005. (Kent Porter/ The Press Democrat)

The surfing world is mourning the loss of a well-known North Coast boarder who died after wiping out in the surf off southern Mexico near his winter-time home.

Surfer and videographer Noel Robinson split his time between Bodega Bay and Puerto Escondido, where the accident occurred about 200 miles south of Acapulco, according to online surfing publications.

He disappeared in the water and was found about an hour later by friends and lifeguards in the area, they said.

Robinson grew up on the Sonoma Coast, cultivating a following with his skill, adventurous spirit and warm persona.

“He's really popular out here. Everyone knew him,” said surfer Chris Hansen, who works at the Bodega Bay Surf Shack. “Great surfer.”

In addition to a lifelong devotion to surfing, Robinson was a well-known vidoegrapher who contributed to EPSN.

Last month, his footage of South African surfer and friend Grant “Twiggy” Baker at February's Mavericks Surf Contest in Half Moon Bay was recognized at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. The video was described by one website as “the Oscars of big wave surfing.”

Robinson was himself photographed riding a tube in Puerto Escondido by Surfing Magazine Senior Photographer Jeff Flint just an hour before his death.

News of the tragedy quickly spread, reaching the North Coast in about an hour, Hansen said.

“It just spread like wildfire,” he said. “Everyone's talking about it. It's a horrible tragedy, but you know, he died doing what he loved.”

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