A jury has reached a verdict in the trial of a paddleboarder who hit a surfer in the ocean at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego last summer as the two got into a squabble over “surf etiquette.”
Jurors found paddle boarder Paul Konen guilty of assault for hitting a surfer in the head with his paddle. Konen could spend seven years behind bars.
Konen assaulted surfer Kevin Eslinger in June 2018 after the pair got into an argument over a wave and their behavior in the water.
Prosecutors said Konen hit Eslinger on the head with a paddle so hard, that it damaged Eslinger's brain, leading to speech problems that persist.
Deputy District Attorney Matthew Greco said the gash left on the back of the victim's head was so severe that he could not speak for days after the incident. Prosecutors called Eslinger’s injury “highly unusual.”
Meanwhile, defense attorney Brian McCarthy argued Konen was acting in self-defense and was actually trying to get away from Eslinger. Konen allegedly told a friend he thought Eslinger “was going to kill him,” and swung at him to defend himself.
However, the prosecution said the attack was not an act of self-defense and told the jury the paddleboarder should be held accountable for the injuries suffered by Eslinger.
Closing arguments wrapped up earlier this week in the trial overseen by Judge Robert Trentacosta in a San Diego courtroom.