By Gina Yarbrough
OCEANSIDE–Family members and friends of a UC Santa Barbara student killed by a great white shark while body surfing last Friday at Surf Beach in Santa Barbara gathered Thursday at the Oceanside Municipal Pier for a paddleout memorial.
The memorial was upbeat rather than somber. Ransom’s friends and family wanted to remember him as a bright and happy young man who loved life, the beach and people.
Lucas’ older brother Travis remembered his 19 year-old brother as an outgoing young man who loved the water. During his years at Perris High School, Travis said his brother used to compete on the varsity swimming and water polo team.
“In high school he was always in the water,” said Travis in a written statement. “Both my brother and I shared a strong brother-like bond with the aquatic community as we all grew up and competed together.”
His parents Matt and Candace Ransom said their son was a junior majoring in chemistry at UCSB. He had plans to work as a pharmacist.
“He would want us to make the most of every moment of our life. Make a difference in everybody’s life,“ said Lucas’ mother. “He would be on top of the world and that’s where he is right now.”
The crowd of mostly young people, a majority of them surfers, wrote short messages on green balloons before releasing them into the air.
Afterwards, the group, carrying surfboards and flowers, ran toward the ocean for the paddleout. In the ocean, the group formed a large circle , prayed and tossed the flowers into the water. Some stayed in the water for about 30 minutes before heading back to shore.
In honor of Ransom’s life, his family will be establishing a scholarship for underprivileged students studying chemistry or chemical engineering at UCSB. They also will create a foundation that will contribute to the awareness and education of sharks in the hopes of reducing shark attacks on swimmers.
To send donations to the scholarship program, write checks to Travis Ransom, P.O. Box 2536 Sun City, CA 92586.