Dana Point surfing community mourns loss of local ‘legend’ Evan McMillen, 21

Bruno Cooke

A casualty at Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point, California has been identified as bodyboarder and surfboarding “legend” Evan McMillen, age 21. His death has met with shock and sadness from those who knew him.

Facebook posts claim he died in a surfing accident.

McMillen’s family and close friends held a candle lighting in Salt Creek on the afternoon of January 16, 2023 in order to honor Evan.

Others have been posting their tributes online, along with words of condolence to those who were close to the late bodyboarder and surfer.

Salt Creek Beach at Monarch Bay, CA
View from up high of Pacific Ocean, lush hillside and Salt Creek Beach at Monarch Bay, California, USA. Near Dana Point and Laguna Niguel, Orange …

RIP Evan McMillen: Salt Creek bodyboarding and surfing community mourn 21-year-old’s death

A Facebook user by the name of Peace Lovejoy wrote on the social media platform on Sunday, January 15, 2023 that Salt Creek had “claimed its first fatality of the new year.”

First reports, he wrote, were that a surfer’s board had struck him in the head. Citing “local sources,” he added that it was low tide with “super shallow sand bars” in the area where the accident occurred.

“They were still performing CPR on the unidentified surfer as the ambulance drove up the hill to the hospital.” Another user also posted on Sunday that a “young surfer” had died after “hitting his board.” People had reportedly “pulled [him] from the water unconscious.” Neither user named Evan.

However, in a more recent Facebook post, the first user above provides an update. In it, he identifies “local bodyboard/surfboard legend” Evan McMillen as the person who died at Dana Point’s Salt Creek Beach that day.

Update: Monday (January 16th, 2023)The formerly unidentified casualty at Creek was local bodyboard/surfboard legend…

Posted by Peace Lovejoy on Monday, January 16, 2023

Tributes and a candle lighting to honor late water sportsman

Dana Hills Dolphins Baseball paid tribute to Evan McMillen on Facebook, writing that their “prayers are with the McMillen family.”

Riptide Bodyboarding Community wrote that they had woken to the sad news of his passing. They bade him “rest in power.”

The group described him as a “natural warrior” and “one of the most caring guys both in and out of the water. … Keep shredding for us up there,” it concluded. “We know you will.”

And finally, public Facebook group Dana Point Unplugged posted that McMillen’s close friends and family held a candle lighting at Salt Creek at 4:15pm on January 16 to honor Evan. It took place “right by his flowers.”

Evan McMillen’s uncle Chris Luntsford has set up a GoFundMe following his nephew’s death

A family member has set up a GoFundMe to give Evan McMillen a “proper send off.”

The fundraiser’s organiser is McMillen’s uncle, Chris Luntsford, of Costa Mesa, California. He writes in the description that he is hoping to raise money for Evan’s surviving family members. These are his mother Tomi, his father Dave, and his twin brother Eian Patrick.

“I am beside myself with grief at the loss of my first nephew Evan,” he writes. “His passing is a complete shock, to his family and friends, and all of those who knew him or were touched by him.”

It has so far raised just over $5,000 of a $50,000 goal. 11 people have donated.

Aerial view,Salt Creek Beach at Monarch Bay, CA
View from up high of Pacific Ocean and people at Salt Creek Beach at Monarch Bay, a public beach in Orange County, California, USA. Near Dana Poin…

He had just come back from a surfing trip in Puerto Rico

According to Bodyboarding News’ social media post, originally written in Spanish, McMillen belonged to the hubboard team.

He had just returned from a surfing trip in Puerto Rico.

The outlet celebrated McMillen as an “example to future generations of young people,” the loss of whom many of his friends and colleagues will lament.

“Peace to his soul,” the post concludes. Evan McMillen’s date of death was January 15, 2023. He was 21 years old.