Stab Magazine | Air Pioneer, Kevin Reed, Suspected Of Murder In Santa Cruz

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Air Pioneer, Kevin Reed, Suspected Of Murder In Santa Cruz

Drugs likely a factor. 

news // May 3, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Early Sunday morning, a homeless man named Steven Lee was found dead on a beach volleyball court near the boardwalk in Santa Cruz. His suspected killer, Kevin Reed also known as Kevin Callahan (who was found and arrested not far from Steven’s body), is said to have been the first man to ever stomp an air on a surfboard. They, reportedly, had been living near the seawall along Beach Avenue.

At 58 years old, Kevin had come upon some hard times. He’d reportedly been homeless for a few years, drinking heavily and potentially dabbling with some heavier drugs. Kevin’s first ever documented air cemented him on the cover of Surfing Magazine in 1975. 

It takes a lot to send a heavily glassed single fin to the heavens. Surfing Magazine cover, 1975. 

“The allegations against Callahan came as a blow to friend and local surf legend Bob Pearson, owner of Pearson Arrow Surfboards on Mission,” states an article in Mercury News. “Pearson said that he still considers his friend Kevin “one of the most famous guys in the world.”

“He was the first guy to do the aerials. That’s a fact, and he did it five years before anybody else,” Pearson said Monday. He acknowledged that he had heard the murder allegations against his friend and hoped that they proved incorrect.

Pearson said Callahan has been homeless for a few years, drinking heavily and generally having a hard time in life. Pearson and his daughter, home from college, visited with Callahan just last week. The two took him out for tacos and listened to his stories. The change in the man’s life is “pretty damn sad,” Pearson said.

Santa Cruz police investigators are investigating Lee’s death as a homicide, though the man’s body showed no signs of obvious trauma, police said. Autopsy results to determine his cause of death remain pending.”

In this video, released in 2015, Kevin talks about the Santa Cruz drug scene (just after the 6:00 mark).

This news is saddening on all fronts. Our hearts are with Santa Cruz. Drugs are serious. Make the right decisions in life and if you see someone headed in a bad direction, lend a hand. 

Kevin Reed in 1987. | Kevin Callahan mugshot, 2017.


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