Chris Brown won the Professional Surfing Association of America championship in 1994
Credit: GoFundMe

Professional surfer Chris Brown has died.

On Saturday, Brown’s body was found washed ashore on Hendry’s Beach in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Independent reported.

The Santa Barbara Police Department responded to the scene around noon on Jan. 20 and discovered Brown’s body, according to the outlet. He was 48.

At this time, his exact cause of death remains unclear and is currently under investigation, spokesperson Anthony Wager told the Santa Barbara Independent.

At only 17 years old, Brown, who was born and raised in Santa Barbara, won the juniors division of the 1988 World Amateur Surfing Championships.

He later went pro in the 1990s, winning the Professional Surfing Association of America Championship in 1994. He also competed against renowned surfer Kelly Slater.

Following the news of his death, Slater, 46, wrote a heartfelt tribute in honor of the surfer on Instagram.

“Chris Brown and I were nearly inseparable as teenagers,” Slater began before sharing a fond memory of Brown.

“This guy was just such an excited, happy light in my childhood. He introduced me to #AlMerrick and @cisurfboards. The day I got my first Al shape when I was 16, Chris and I drove back and forth twice in the same day to Lompoc to surf ’cause SB had no waves. We’d listen to GnR in his brown truck.”

“Chris and I shaped a board together in his parent’s backyard, each shaping a rail. Being from the east coast and riding @matt_kechele shapes, I had thick, rounded rails while Chris had been schooled on the finer, precision rails that worked well at Rincon.”

“When we finally felt the board we laughed and decided we had to have Chris reshape mine down to feel like his rail,” Slater continued.

“He actually won a #PSAA event on that board ’cause AL was gone for a month somewhere and he had broken his favorite board.”

“I felt a huge sense of pride that he had competed on that thing. It was so exciting being from the east coast, knowing Chris, and then getting to know the Channel Island family. It was truly life changing for me. Chris surfed like Tom Curren. You would see the lineage in every wave he rode and being around that style as a kid was so inspiring… #YeahChris!” Slater concluded.

Surfer Keith Malloy also remembered Brown.

“We are going to miss your big smile and enthusiasm CB. I really looked up to Chris Brown as a youngster, he was one of the only guys that could beat @KellySlater in the late 80s and early 90s,” Malloy wrote alongside a photo of Brown when he was younger.

In addition to his life as a surfer, Brown was a proud father. He is survived by his 22-year-old daughter Chloe.

Brown’s family have since created a GoFundMe in support of Chloe.

“[He] had the biggest smile you will ever see which was infections. He was well accredited pro smiling surfer with many accolades, the most important being a father to his beautiful daughter,” the page reads.