'He never gave up on stuff,' says girlfriend of Corvallis doctor who died surfing

Toren Stearns and Gabby Guzman. (Photo: Gabby Guzman)

The girlfriend of the doctor who died over the weekend in a surfing accident near Newport said he had plans to open his own practice.

Toren Stearns, 30, was a psychiatry resident at Samaritan Mental Health. He was finishing up his last year of residency.

His colleagues got together for a memorial surf at Devil Punchbowl, the place he drowned.

Gabby Guzman, Stearns’ longtime girlfriend, said he wanted to help people.

“He never gave up on stuff. He would try until he perfects it. That was just one really good thing about him,” she said by phone Monday.

She said his colleagues taught him how to surf over a year ago.

The couple had been together for eight years. They met in their hometown of Lodi, California.

The U.S. Coast Guard said Stearns was separated from his surfboard Saturday.

A rescue swimmer and a local surfer helped bring the unconscious man to shore.

Stearns was transported to a hospital but later died.

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