A morning of surf at Hollister Ranch turned tragic on Monday, June 30, for a 61-year-old Carpinteria man. Fellow surfers found Frank Louda, a contractor well-known in Santa Barbara’s building community, floating in the sea off of San Augustine’s Beach – or Auggie’s, as the break is known by surfers who frequent the remote coastline west of Gaviota State Park – a little before noon on Monday. The surfers, one of whom was reportedly an emergency room doctor, began trying to resuscitate Louda, and kept up their valiant efforts until a helicopter arrived. The chopper landed at La Cumbre Junior High, where an ambulance took him directly to Cottage Hospital despite a lack of pulse or respiration. He was then pronounced dead.
Although the official cause of death has not yet been determined, Louda’s apparent drowning comes as a shock for many Santa Barbara architects and surfers as well as to his friends at Hollister Ranch, where he was partial owner of a parcel. He was an avid surfer and appeared to be in excellent health. “He was really very much an alive guy,” said friend and author Nora Gallagher. “People can’t figure it out.”
On Tuesday, his wife Jodie Ireland thanked those who tried to help him, and said, “Frank had an extraordinary talent for enjoying life and was doing what he did best.”
Louda leaves behind his wife, two grown children, and one teenage stepson.