Eighties Santa Cruz legend Jeff Spencer found dead
Standout 1980s surfer Jeff Spencer found dead in Santa Cruz
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 14 June, 2012 : - - An unflinching big-wave rider known for his switch-stance surfing, Jeff Spencer's career burned brightly in the 1980s. Consumed by drug and alcohol abuse, his life came to a dark end when he was found dead Sunday near West Cliff Drive. He was 49. An off-duty San Jose firefighter came upon Spencer near a fence at David Way about 6:10 a.m.
Santa Cruz police spokesman Zach Friend said it was unclear how long Spencer had been dead. A coroner's autopsy will be performed later this week. Spencer was part of a powerhouse group of Santa Cruz surfers in the 80s that included Richard Schmidt, Vince Collier and Anthony Ruffo. Melissa Kreger, his common law wife of nearly 20 years, called Spencer her soul mate.
She described him as an untamed person who needed to be outdoors. He was a whiz at construction and doted on their daughter and son. "Our common link was surfing and our love of the ocean," Kreger said. "That was the thing he was best at. He was an amazing surfer. You could watch him surf and be inspired with awe."
Jeffrey Scott Spencer was born on April 8, 1963. His father died in a car wreck when he was 4 years old, so his grandmother raised him at her home on National Street. Spencer's gaze turned to surfing. He was in the class of 1981 at Santa Cruz High School but never graduated. Able to surf with his left or right foot forward, Spencer was one of few ambidextrous surfers with the advantage of facing the wave at all times.
"At that time, he was probably one of the best switch-foot surfers in the world," said high school friend Alex Viera. "He was dedicated to surfing." Sponsored by surfboard shaper Rick Noe - and later Buck Noe - Spencer went on globe-trotting surf trips in the 80s and 90s. With well-known photographers like Chris Klopf, they surfed in Indonesia, South Africa, Mexico and Hawaii.
Read the full article at Mercury News
Source: Mercury News
Author: Stephen Baxter
Tags: Jeff Spencer, Santa Cruz, West Side, Passages
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