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Long IslandSuffolk

Search for LI surfer off Gilgo resumes

A Suffolk County marine police officer walks Gilgo

A Suffolk County marine police officer walks Gilgo Beach as searches continued Friday for missing surfer Zachary Gottfried, 31, of Old Field, who went missing Thursday night. (Sept. 9, 2011) Photo Credit: James Carbone

The search for an Old Field surfer who disappeared in the waters off Gilgo State Park continued Sunday, police said.

"We've got patrols constantly up and down the beach, but still nothing," said a State Park Police detective who asked not to be named, citing department policy.

The surfer, Zachary Gottfried, 31, disappeared Thursday night in 10-foot surf, said Capt. Bruce Marx of the Park Police.

Teams from Marx's department, the Coast Guard, Long Beach Police Department, and Nassau and Suffolk police have been involved in the 3-day-old search.

On Friday, a Babylon Bay constable recovered a paddle belonging to Gottfried. His surfboard was found Thursday.

In the hours before he disappeared, Gottfried and another man crossed the Great South Bay by boat from Amityville, docked along Ocean Parkway and walked across the parkway to enter the water on the south shore of Fire Island, Marx said.

Both men were in waters where the surf was 5 to 10 feet, and the National Weather Service had issued a "high surf advisory" for the area.

Gottfried was lost in water about a quarter-mile east of the sand-road entrance to Gilgo State Park, Marx said.

The second surfer was able to leave the water safely, Marx said.

T.R. Fatscher, owner of a boat repair shop near Island Riders, a Copiague kiteboard, surf and water sports store, said Gottfried owns Island Riders and was an avid surfer.

Fatscher said he was shocked to learn Gottfried was the missing surfer and said he would travel anywhere to surf.

"He travels to surf and kiteboard," he said. "That's his life."

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