Uncle identifies man killed by shark in Morro Bay

December 30, 2021

Tomas Butterfield


A relatives has identified the victim of last week’s fatal shark attack off of Morro Bay as 42-year-old Tomas Butterfield of Sacramento.

On Christmas Eve morning, a great white shark reportedly attacked and killed Butterfield while he was boggie boarding in an area known as the pit, which is north of Morro Rock. Rebecca Frimmer, who was surfing nearby, found Butterfield’s body attached to his Boogie Board in the water.

Frimmer was thinking she could perform CPR on top of her board, but once Frimmer saw the extent of Butterfield’s injuries, it was clear that it was way too late. He had already died.

Butterfield grew up in Ketchikan, Alaska. He is being remembered as a caring friend and relative and a man who loved the ocean and activities involving water.

“He will be sorely missed by all,” Grant Butterfield, Tomas Butterfield’s uncle, said in a Facebook post. “Special condolences to my brother Scott, his father, and Maria, his mother, and Tomas’ brother Benjamin.”

Tomas Butterfield


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How can I make this all about me? Oops. Looks like someone beat me too it.


I’ve started and ended a countless number days paddling out for sunrises and sunsets at The Pit. For some reason, we fool ourselves into thinking the beach is safer than the reef, but it can happen anywhere.

In recent years, with the popularity of drones, we’ve been shown how many sharks are in the water, right where we play. Believe it or not, I find that footage both comforting and validating. Comforting might not be what you expect, but honestly, seeing that they’ve always been there put into perspective how unlikely it is you’ll ever be bit, they know we’re there and usually they know we’re not food. Sadly though, not always. I say validating because the other thing that footage shows is those times, times every surfer and swimmer has experienced, when you get that spooked feeling, there was probably something to it. We have ALL come closer than we realize.

If you guys write more about Thomas Butterfield, maybe refer to him as a “bodyboarder”. Boogie boarder makes him sound like a nine year old kid. Bodyboarders are legitimately surfing, dropping in on all the same waves a traditional boarder does. In fact, dropping in on steeper faces and doing it head first. Mr Butterfield died in the surf and he died the death of a surfer. He deserves at least the respect of not being framed as some kook tourist.


I’m sure he would’ve appreciated that last bit. Sponge love