Missing surfer honored in paddle out

Paddle out for Anderson Estep next to Cherry Grove pier.

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - More than 100 people came together in North Myrtle Beach Thursday evening to remember Anderson Estep, 19. He was last seen a week ago doing what he loved, surfing in the ocean.

"I'm going to miss his enthusiasm about surfing. He had such a huge passion for it," said Tyler Hodges, Estep's friend. "You never think that something like that is gonna happen to somebody that's close to you or around you. You just always hear about it."

Next to the Cherry Grove Pier, family, friends and fellow surfers came together to remember Estep. During a brief service, a pastor offered comforting words while many embraced each other during this difficult time.

"All around amazing guy. Didn't matter when you saw him he was always smiling and laughing or making whoever is around smile and laugh," said Hodges. "I think today is making me more happier to start to see everybody coming out on the beach to show their love and support."

Last Friday, Estep went out into the water, which was rough after Tropical Storm Andrea came through. Searchers found his surfboard, but Estep is missing.

"I spent the night all night Friday and Saturday just kind of like hoping that he'd walk up like nothing was wrong like, '

'What's up man? Had a hell of a walk back from that,' but yeah," added Hodges with a pause.

To honor him, about two dozen surfers came together for a paddle out. Despite the choppy water, they swam past the breakers and formed a circle. After sharing memories they splashed water and released flowers into the water.

"I know everyone's been sad, but it was nice at the same time to go out there and do something that he really loved," surfer Brooke Bedsaul.

After the paddle out, the surfers headed back to shore, which is what this ceremony represents; a surfer symbolically riding his last wave.