Water was central to Nick Johnson's life, so it was fitting that family and friends took to the sea Saturday to honor his memory.
Dozens of people — family, friends and teammates — joined in a paddle-out from East Beach in Santa Barbara to pay their respects to Johnson, a UCSB water polo who attended Santa Barbara High School.
The Santa Barbara County Coroner's Office has ruled the death an accidental drowning.
Several dozen people on surf boards and kayaks joined the paddle out, while several hundred more people witnessed the event from shore.
Johnson had played on the UCSB water polo team since graduating in 2012 from Santa Barbara High, where he played on the varsity team.
Johnson’s family has worked with Santa Barbara High School to set up a memorial fund where people can donate to the aquatics program in his name.