GOLETA, Calif. -- Santa Barbara County water rescue crews were searching for a reported paddle boarder in distress at Goleta Beach on Tuesday afternoon, and first responders were able to make contact with the paddle boarder hours later, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Crews responded to the scene just after 1 p.m. on Tuesday and were assisted by helicopters from Ventura County and the U.S. Coast Guard, according to Capt. Daniel Bertucelli.
Heavy winds and sea conditions on Tuesday afternoon were making the search more difficult, Bertucelli said, advising people to stay out of the ocean in those conditions.
First responders made contact with the paddle boarder, a male from Port Hueneme, near Hendry's Beach around 4 p.m. on Thursday.
The paddle boarder was reportedly SUP Foiling, hoping to make it all the way to Mondo's Beach in Ventura County.
The paddle boarder was reportedly able to make contact with first responders through his Apple Watch.
His friends went in at Hendry's beach after first responders began to follow them.
One had a SUP Foil, the other had an electric SUP Foil Motor and another was on a Surf Ski.
Preston Holmes said his friend probably didn't realize rescuers were looking for him.
"He probably did have a few moments where he realized it wasn't highly inappropriate for someone to check on him when you are out there you realize how far off you are and how big everything is and so it is hard for most people to rec what looks dangerous verses safe from a distance."
Holmes said he had parked at Mondo's or Faria Beach and taken an Uber to Campus Point by UCSB.
On windy days they often plan to SUP Foil for miles by arranging rides.
Their friend Dorian Wolter, with the motorized SUP Foil said he goes every day and when it is windy he doesn't have to use his motor.
He said the people need to be advanced to go out when conditions are rough.