Young, Stand-Out Dana Point Surfer Passes Away At Salt Creek - Stab Mag
21-year-old Evan McMillen.

Young, Stand-Out Dana Point Surfer Passes Away At Salt Creek

Family and friends remember 21-year-old Evan McMillen.

elsewhere // Jan 19, 2023
Words by Christian Bowcutt
Reading Time: 3 minutes

On Sunday, 21-year-old Evan McMillen was surfing at his home break of Salt Creek when he fell and was knocked unconscious.

Evan had gone for a solo session and wasn’t surfing the main peak. Nobody else was in the water near him.

The cams show Evan getting to his feet and suddenly falling. He never emerges or paddles back out. It’s unclear whether he hit the bottom or his board. Evan was discovered many minutes later and pulled out of the shorebreak, unconscious. CPR was performed until the ambulance arrived and rushed him away. Ultimately, too much time had passed and Evan could not be resuscitated. 

An absolute tragedy.

Evan loved to surf, but he was also well-known as a hard-charging bodyboarder. “He was really making his way in the world of bodyboarding and was going places. He came out of nowhere and in six months was easily one of California’s best bodyboarders,” said Evan’s main sponsor, the revered Jeff Hubbard of Hubboards. 

A vigil was held at Salt Creek for Evan. Attendees said that the clouds broke and a rainbow appeared. Photo: Lucas Taub

Many took to social media to express how fun it was to share a line-up with Evan. Friends posted clips of them splitting peaks and trading off tubes with him, especially during this last run of swell, where he was a remarkable force in some of the heaviest waves the region had to offer.

However, a person’s surf-self is but a fraction of their whole. Evan was much more than a talented wave rider.

“The last time I saw Evan, we paddled out together to check on some photographers who we thought were in trouble and might need some help. I was impressed by Evan’s willingness to paddle out into some of the biggest surf he’d ever seen just to back me up and look out for two people he didn’t even know,” said World Champion bodyboarder, Jared Houston. 

The night got colder, but the people kept coming. Photo: Lucas Taub

Evan’s brother, Eian, said the following:

“Evan was such a beautiful person inside and out. He always pushed me to be the best I could be. Every time we surfed he would always teach me what I could do to become better. I would ask for advice and he would be more than happy to tell me. Evan loved and looked up to so many local surfers in the community.”

Eian said that his family will be starting a bodyboard foundation so that Evan can continue to inspire the next generation. “He always strived to help and push the younger crew to ride,” Eian said.

Evan making the bodyboard vs. surf decision a little easier. Photo: Instagram

I wish Evan could read the 329 (and counting) comments on his latest Instagram post (shared just after this last historic California swell). His friends and family share which attributes they love and miss the most about him. Old acquaintances bring up funny moments from as far back as elementary school. His girlfriend expresses her love and heartbreak. There are apologies, thanks yous, and so much love.

Stab sends our thoughts and prayers to Evan’s loved ones. There is a GoFundMe set up by Evan’s uncle to help support his family.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

An Early Pipeline Exit For Stephanie Gilmore Amidst GenZ Glory

Day Two of the 2023 CT season was a clear notice that the kids are…

Feb 3, 2023

Hand-Shaping, Glassing, And Finishing ’70s-Inspired Displacement Hulls Will Not Make You Rich

Profile: Tristan Mausse of Fantastic Acid is in it for all the right reasons.

Feb 3, 2023

Hassling, Head-Dips, and Broken Apple Watches

The 2023 CT is underway. Here's what happened on Day One of the Billabong Pro…

Feb 2, 2023

Stephanie Gilmore And Filipe Toledo Are The 2022 Stab Surfers Of The Year 

Caity and Hughie take Best Juniors, “NOZ VID” wins best film, and Ho and Pringle…

Feb 2, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: The Stab Premium Vote

Day Ten: You voted, we counted.

Feb 1, 2023

Red Bulls, Crypto Bears, Former’s Six-Figure Fish, Tyler’s Multi-Millions And More

A brief catalog of the latest surf industry news and whispers.

Jan 31, 2023


“Definitely The First Time I’ve Gone Surfing Via Plane”

Parker Coffin, Harrison Roach, and friends tear through NZ on Roark's most well-rounded surf trip…

Jan 30, 2023

Pipe Preview: This Year Feels Different

With John and Gabs healthy — and the arrival of the femme next-gen — here’s…

Jan 29, 2023

WSL Tells Competitors: ‘You Better Like Them Apples’

Will mandating competitors to wear Apple Watches make the 2023 tour more or less engaging?

Jan 29, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: John John Florence, Italo Ferreira, Balaram Stack, Rolo Montes, and Shaun Manners

Day 9: "You can't do better than his year last year." - John John Florence

Jan 28, 2023

Full Moon Surfs, Impassable Puddles, And A Few Nights Spent Sleeping In A WSL Commentary Booth

A reader-submitted collection of nonconformist surf stories.

Jan 27, 2023

Kael Walsh Now Owns A Bitcoin, And Watched One Crypto Video

He’s officially your Stab Edit Of The Year champion.

Jan 27, 2023

Carissa Moore And Finn McGill Are Your 2023 Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Champions 

They both pocket $50k and tickets to this year’s Vans Pipe Masters.

Jan 27, 2023


The Pick-Up, Presented By Vans, Episode 5

Mason Ho helps us ring in our final week on the North Shore.

Jan 27, 2023

Goofyfoot Brazilian World Champion Stars In Stab’s Biggest Board-Testing Franchise

Can you guess who?

Jan 26, 2023

Surf Community Rallies To Raise Funds For Eddie Winner And On-Duty Hawaiian Lifeguard Luke Shepardson

Because it's the right thing to do, of course.

Jan 26, 2023

Interview: Caity Simmers On Machete Wars, Rihanna, Personal Project Problems, And The Rise Of Female Surf Content. 

A toast to ‘Toasted.’

Jan 25, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: Creed McTaggart, Albee Layer, Laura Enever, Dane Guduaskas, and Selema Masekela

Day 8: "65 years young and charging just as hard as ever at Pipe, Backdoor,…

Jan 25, 2023