Smiles replaced tears as community members came together Monday night to remember former professional surfer Emery Kauanui. Skateboarders, wake boarders and BMX bikers were among the participants at the special memorial Monday night at the Carlsbad Lagoon. A spray-painted mural, live music, and sports that he loved were all part of the event.
"Him, his name, just him as an individual, that's just as gratifying as anything else. Just knowing that his existence is recognized," said Emery's brother Caleb Aero.
24-year-old Kauanui died after a fatal punch in 2007. The man responsible, Seth Cravens, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Kauanui's mother said that Emery loved his family and that is what the celebration is all about and hopes to hold the event every year.
"I want to accomplish just an awareness about your kids, your teens, your children and how valuable they are, that they're our treasures," Cindy Kauanui said.