SANTA CRUZ - A cause of death is pending for noted big-wave surfer Jeff Spencer, 49, who was found dead near West Cliff Drive and David Way above Mitchell's Cove on Sunday, Coroner's officials said Tuesday.
An unflinching rider known for his switch-stance surfing, Spencer's career burned brightly in the 1980s, but he suffered from drug and alcohol problems.
An off-duty firefighter came upon Spencer near a fence at David Way about 6:10 a.m. Sunday. Police said it was unclear how long he had been dead, and that there was no sign of foul play.
Tuesday, Sgt. Alan Burt of the Sheriff-Coroner's Office said an autopsy has been done, but that toxicology results will take an estimated three weeks. No cause of death will be finalized until then, Burt said.
Spencer was part of a powerhouse group of Santa Cruz surfers in the 1980s that included Richard Schmidt, Vince Collier and Anthony Ruffo. He had two children and a common law wife of nearly 20 years, Melissa Kreger.
Follow Sentinel reporter Cathy Kelly on Twitter @cathykelly9.
©2012 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.)
Visit the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.) at www.santacruzsentinel.com