Pastor Maurigro Cervantes, was performing the religious ceremony with the assistance of his cousin Benito Flores when the incident began.
“A big wave came and took Benito,” Cervantes, of Jesus Christ Light of the Sky, told the news station. “I tried to take him out. He was heavy and then another big wave came.”
The current pulled Flores,43, away from the shore at the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve — about 70 miles north of Santa Barbara — and he hasn't been seen since.
Huffington Post reported that the U.S. Coast Guard called off the search about midnight Sunday with no plans on continuing. According to officials, it would be difficult for anyone to survive more than 30 minutes in the cold water.
The baptism reportedly had about 25 people in attendance and is performed several times per year by Pastor Cervantes .