Family and friends have planned a memorial paddle-out for Saturday, March 11, to celebrate the life of Evan McMillen, the 21-year-old Dana Hills High graduate who died on Jan. 15 after a surfing accident at Salt Creek Beach.
Community members had gathered at Salt Creek Beach on Jan. 16 to mourn the loss of McMillen, laying flowers and lighting candles around his bodyboard. Friends and family will gather once again at Salt Creek to remember the young waterman.
McMillen’s uncle, Christopher Luntsford, has launched an organization called Live Like Evan Thomas McMillen Ride (LLETMRide) to help carry Evan’s legacy of teaching surfing, bodyboarding and ocean safety.
Through LLETMRide, Luntsford hopes to promote outdoor activity safety and help facilitate ocean activities for those who don’t have the money or ability to access water sports.
Luntsford added that when McMillen was at competitions, he liked to give away gear to people who didn’t have any. Through the organization, which is going through the steps of becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Luntsford hopes to continue McMillen’s legacy by attending bodyboarding and surfing competitions and donating gear.
“He had a huge heart, and with his death, I don’t want his death to be in vain, for one,” Luntsford said. “I really want to help carry on his dream. He wanted to have a surf school and help others.”
The organization will launch a website, lletmride.org, on Friday, March 10, where people can learn more about the mission, buy merchandise and donate.
During the paddle-out on Saturday, family and friends will spread McMillen’s ashes and toss leis and flowers into the water.
McMillen’s twin brother, Eian, will lead the paddle-out, Luntsford said, and there will be a ukulele player on the beach.
There will also be a Mass held in McMillen’s name at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Newport Beach on Sunday, March 12, at 10 a.m. Luntsford added that both the paddle-out and Mass are open to the public. Those wishing to honor McMillen are invited to gather at Salt Creek State Beach at 10 a.m. or at Kahului Harbor in Maui, Hawaii, at 8 a.m. Hawaii time.
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