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Coast Guard ends search for legendary surfer "Ace Cool"

HONOLULU - U.S. Coast Guard officials said they suspended their search Saturday for a Hawaii big-wave surfer who went missing on Oahu's North Shore earlier this week.

Alec "Ace Cool" Cooke, 59, was last seen Tuesday evening before he went surfing during a 20- to 25-foot swell near Waimea Bay. His friends said it wasn't unusual for the big wave rider to take off surfing at night.

"He paddles out with a big glow stick on his back and he's got a light and basically he goes out at nighttime in big surf," longtime friend Rich Jensen, told CBS affiliate KGMB in Honolulu. "Because nobody else is out there, so I guess he's got it all to himself."

His girlfriend reported him missing Wednesday after he didn't return to his Waialua home.

Cmdr. Arex Avanni, deputy commanding officer at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, says in a statement issued Saturday night: "As with any missing persons search we saturated the area in an attempt to locate Mr. Cooke, but pending further developments, we have decided to suspend the active search."

Emergency responders found a surfboard near the Waimea River Thursday. On Friday, Cooke's girlfriend, Gail Howell, confirmed that it belonged to Cooke, KGMB reports.

The Coast Guard says it used airplanes, helicopters and jet skis to search about 8,930 square miles of the Pacific Ocean for Cooke.

KGMB reports Cooke made a name for himself chasing big waves in the 1970s and 80s. That included tow-in surfing and even jumping out of a helicopter into a monster wave off Kaena Point.

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