Redondo Breakwater surfers rescue fellow surfer after fall on rocks
by Kevin Cody
Photos by Mike Balzer
Longtime Redondo Breakwater surfer Doug “Doc” Scheller was rescued by fellow Breakwater veterans Thursday morning after he fell into a crevice while attempting to jump off the rocks in 15- to 20-foot surf.
Earlier in the morning, half a dozen surfers, including Jeremy Griffin and brothers Derek and Keith Brewer had successfully entered the water from the Breakwater. In large Breakwater surf, the whitewater is too powerful to paddle out through from the beach. So surfers walk out, roughly 200 yards, along a path at the top of the Breakwater. Then, when they sense a lull in the swells, they climb down the Breakwater boulders and jump into the water.
Scheller had been waiting at the top of the Breakwater for a lull for approximately 15 minutes before he started to climb down the rocks. He then either slipped or was knocked down by a wave.
Griffin, who had been washed ashore following his last jump off the rocks, was on the beach with a crowd of other surfers when he saw Scheller disappear.
“I saw the whitewater on the rocks but didn’t see Doc. I was still in my wetsuit, so I figured I should go get him,” Griffin said after the rescue.
Griffin ran out along the top of the Breakwater until he saw Scheller’s surfboard near the waterline. As Griffin began climbing down the rocks toward the board, he saw Scheller standing in a crevice. Scheller said his shoulder was injured and he couldn’t move. Griffin grabbed Scheller’s uninjured shoulder and hoisted him out of the crevice.
Michael Luhrsen and several other Breakwater regulars arrived to help carry Scheller up the rocks and then supported him as he walked back along the breakwater to the beach, where he was treated by Redondo Beach Fire Department paramedics. Scheller suffered a broken shoulder, a broken arm and internal bruising.
“Doc told me he was just waiting for the next wave to carry him away. Luckily, he was wearing a helmet or I don’t think he would have made it,” Luhrsen said afterwards.
Following Scheller’s rescue, surfers Michael Luhrsen’s son Angelo and former Redondo High surf star Connor Beatty successfully jumped off the rocks but were caught by a large set that swept them back to the beach. Earlier in the morning Luhrsen caught what appeared to be the largest wave of the day. ER