A beautiful day at the beach took a tragic turn for the UC Davis fencing team. Calvin Hau, a former UC Davis student who continued to practice with the club, died at Pismo Beach on Apr. 27 after complaining of chest pains. He was 24.
Hau, who was traveling with the club to a weekend tournament in San Luis Obispo, was boogie boarding with several teammates before he began feeling sick and losing his vision, said Cal Fire Pismo Beach emergency medical technician Joe Matousek.
“He told one of his friends that he wasn’t feeling well and his vision wasn’t good,” Matousek said.
Hau’s friends assisted him out of the water and to the beach, where he collapsed and lost consciousness. A member of the team began rescue breathing before paramedics arrived, but Hau was unresponsive. Paramedics continued CPR en route to Grande Arroyo Hospital, where Hau was later pronounced dead, Matousek said.
Laura Goytia, one of the fencing club members who accompanied Hau to the beach, said his death was “completely sudden.”
“He felt fine in the morning [and] that afternoon he passed away,” said Goytia, a senior linguistics major.
Though the cause of Hau’s death is still under investigation, it appears to have been natural, said Rob Bryn, a public information officer from the San Luis Obispo County coroner’s office. A toxicology report is expected in four to six weeks, he said.
Hau enrolled at UC Davis in the fall of 2001 through the fall quarter of 2007, said Julia Ann Easley, a spokesperson for the university.
It is not immediately clear why Hau, a civil engineering major who had not yet completed his degree requirements, was not registered for the past two quarters, Easley said.
Hau, who was “always out doing something,” joined the UC Davis club fencing team as a novice last fall, Goytia said.
Goytia said Hau “disappeared” during the winter quarter, but returned to the practices on the Wednesday prior to the weekend tournament.
Despite his relatively brief presence with the club, Hau’s ubiquitous camera made him memorable, Goytia said.
“He was a pretty funny guy. He really liked taking pictures; he was always carrying around his camera and taking really funny pictures of everybody,” she said.
Goytia said she will remember Hau for his warm, extroverted personality.
“He was just an outgoing, fun-loving person. He always had a smile on his face,” she said.
A memorial service for Hau was held in Davis on Sunday. His funeral is scheduled for next weekend in San Francisco.
PATRICK McCARTNEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.