A man killed by a Christmas Eve shark attack in central California was visiting family and had decided to go boogie boarding, friends and family members said.
Tomas Butterfield, 42, of Sacramento was killed Friday morning in Morro Bay near Morro Bay State Beach, a spokesman for California State Parks confirmed to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
Butterfield had gone to the area for a family gathering at his mother’s home, Grant Butterfield, his uncle, told the paper.
Butterfield moved several times after his mother and father divorced and he attended high school in Alaska, his uncle said.
“His mother would go on vacation someplace and fall in love with the place and she’d end up moving there. So there was a lot of moving around,” he said. “They ended up in Ketchikan, Alaska.”
Tomas wasn’t married and recently had been working for his father at a medical laboratory equipment repair company in Sacramento. He loved fishing, boogie boarding, and golfing, his uncle said.
“Tomas was very quiet and had kind of a wry sense of humor,” he said. “If you could get a full-throated laugh out of him, you were a winner.”
Butterfield was pulled from the waves after a surfer saw him face down in the water with a boogie board floating nearby. He died at the scene.
The shark was likely a great white, Morro Bay Harbor Director Eric Endersby said.
Morro Bay is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of Los Angeles.