'It went way over his head,' say friends who saw wave sweep man away

'It went way over his head,' say friends who saw wave sweep man away

PORTLAND, Ore. - Friends of a man who was swept out to sea near Pacific City said they were worried that he was in a precarious spot.

James Alejandro, age 25, disappeared at Cape Kiwanda last Thursday. His friends said he had set up a slack line in a cove near a cliff.

"I was going to be like, 'Okay, dude, that's enough,'" said Alejandro's roommate and friend Jordan McClure. "And then it was just seconds later."

Seconds later, McClure said, a large wave crashed up over the cliff and onto Alejandro, carrying him into the water.

"When he came back up, he was floating face down," said McClure.

"The water, it's the water," said another friend, Matt Marino, who was there with the group exploring the area. "That's what took him in and that's what took him away."

McClure and Marino said Alejandro was not walking on the slack line when the wave hit him. They said he had jumped off the line and onto the rocks, and was facing away from the water, and it appeared to be low tide at the time.

"It wasn't splashing up high yet," said McClure. "It was so sudden."

His friends said Alejandro had recently taken up "slack lining," walking on a low, loose rope, and he often practiced at Colonel Summers Park in Southeast Portland. They said he had good balance and learned quickly.

"He liked having a good time and going on adventures. He wasn't afraid of anything," said McClure.

His friends said Alejandro had moved from Chicago to Portland about three years ago, and was passionate about rock climbing, music, photography, bikes and yoga. They said he worked as a welder, and was always active.

"He was very outgoing. He had a lot of energy," said Marino.

Marino said the death has been very difficult for him and Alejandro's friends and family.

He said he has learned something from the ordeal.

"It's okay to take risks and try new things," said Marino, adding, "Take precautions with yourself and understand: if you do something to yourself, the people you hurt the most are the people that love you."

His friends are planning a memorial on Monday, April 28, at Colonel Summers Park at 7 p.m.