Lifeguards found him easily because there were no umbrellas and loungers cluttering the sand, and not a single restaurant blocking the magnificent vista of the pounding surf.
The man was wearing a cheap suit and white shoes of the kind favored by Phuket's property salesmen in the 1990s.
Identification was made from a copy of a signed letter in a jacket pocket. It was short and sweet.
''Dear Governor Maitree,'' the letter began. ''I have a great idea for making Phuket famous.
''Just construct a large sound stage across the surf at Surin and market it as 'the beach where we celebrate New Year's Eve 365 nights a year.' It's a sure fire winner!''
The letter was signed ''Your good friend, Jack Black.''
Meanwhile, a Patong hotelier with a long memory recalled that Jack ''Doomsayer'' Black was the man who introduced Phuket locals to the concept of using loungers and umbrellas on the beaches, back in about 1979.
''Jack was full of good ideas back then,'' the hotelier said.
''He sold the locals the first load of umbrellas and loungers and told them it was a great way of trapping customers just where you want them, lying down so there could be no easy escape.''
It is believed Mr Black had a franchise that covered poor-quality sunglasses, fake watches and carved wooden souvenirs with no redeeming aesthetic qualities whatsoever.
''He was very good at what he did,'' the hotelier said. ''He claimed to have invented pyramid selling and said his father started the first hedge fund.''
Police are still leaving all possibilities open but an old Australian surfer who was sitting in a bar a long, long way back from Surin beach believes he witnessed the Doomsayer's final moments.
''He walked down to the beach, then he seemed to do a double-take when there were no umbrellas to be seen,'' the Aussie said, scratching his Speedos.
''Then he ran into the surf, screaming 'What have they done! What have they done!'
''That was the last we saw of him. I would have tried to rescue him but it was my friend's shout so I had to drink that beer first.''
Doomsayer Jack's ashes are expected to be scattered at Surin any day now.
Officials at Governor Maitree's office in Phuket City confirmed that a letter had been received but said no decision had been made about the idea.
''We are prepared to consider any suggestion that is good for Phuket,'' a spokesperson said.
This article is satirical. Any similarity to real people is purely in the vivid imagination of the reader.