However, if there were shark bites on the body, they could have been inflicted after the man had drowned.
The case is somewhat mysterious.
The surfer, a local, was reported missing by his fiancee late Wednesday.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, a lifeguard saw the surfer at about 7:30 p.m. from his tower about a half-mile away. He did not seem to be in distress.
At about the same time a 911 call was placed by a person on the beach concerned about the surfer, who was several hundred yards offshore.
A multi-agency search was unsuccessful but a person walking along the beach at 3:30 a.m. Thursday found the unclothed body. The body was later recovered but the identity of the surfer has not been revealed pending notification of the next of kin.
Before the body was recovered, lifeguard Lt. John Everhart said, a surfboard was found with a wetsuit attached to it, also several hundred yards offshore.
Everhart told the Los Angeles Times that initial evidence suggests that the man had drowned before a shark attack occurred.
"There are a lot of unknowns," he said.