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Aerial surfing pioneer Kevin Reed is suspect in Santa Cruz murder

A man accused of murder in Santa Cruz, California over the weekend is former surfing great Kevin Reed. Most notably known for pioneering aerial surfing, Reed was the first surfer to ever appear doing an air on a surf magazine cover when he landed on the December/January 1975/76 issue of SURFING Magazine.

Kevin Reed performing the first air to be put on the cover of a surfing magazine. Photo: Courtesy of SURFER

According to The Mercury News, Reed now goes by the name Kevin Callahan and was arrested early Sunday morning not far from victim Kevin Lee’s body at Main Beach.

Callahan, 58, has been homeless for the last few years and was reportedly living near the seawall along Beach Avenue, which is also where Lee was living. Callahan has been drinking heavily the last few years and having a tough time in life. In an outtake from the 2010 documentary “The Westsiders”, Callahan can be seen talking about the drugs that infiltrated the Santa Cruz surfing scene and afflicted everyone.

Bob Pearson, owner of Pearson Arrow Surfboards and longtime friend of Callahan’s told The Mercury News, “I’ve been trying to work with Flea and a lot of other guys, trying to straighten him out. It’s been difficult.”

Pearson also went on to tell how Callahan was the first person doing airs in California, five years before anyone else.

Lee’s death is being investigated as a homicide, and an autopsy report is being conducted to determine the cause of death. Callahan was asleep on the beach when police arrived, and he is currently being held in Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of first degree murder.

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