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la-me-ln-lifeguard-drowns-newport-photos-003 From the LA TIMES: "For 100 years, the lifeguards of Newport Beach have survived pounding surf, fierce rip currents and powerful undertow as they pulled struggling beach-goers from the sea. But some of that invincibility was swept away Sunday afternoon when 32-year-old Ben Carlson drowned while working to rescue a swimmer caught in the choppy surf.

De La Jara described Carlson as a good athlete who "charged" waves everywhere from Mexico to Hawaii to the Wedge, the infamous break not far from where the lifeguard lived on the Balboa Peninsula.

"This guy was not your average guy," he said. "He was a water man."

Carlson was born in Fort Worth, Texas and graduated from Etiwanda High School near Rancho Cucamonga in 2000. He earned a degree in psychology from UC Irvine in 2005, school officials said.

The lifeguard was also a longtime bartender and had worked as the bar and beverage director for Wahoo's Fish Taco since 2011.

Eric Palafox, the assistant manager at the chain's Newport Beach location, remembered Carlson as a great leader with a happy outlook on life."He was always so positive, trying to motivate our team and improve sales," Palafox said. "He always came up with great ideas to improve our bar."

- BEN DID GO- He will be missed. IMG_9964lat-la-me-ln-newport-lifeguard-la0018734998-20140707 la-me-ln-lifeguards-shaken-001

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