In 2006, I wrote a story about some of our county’s top surfers, which began “If you’re a surfer, you’ll recognize names like Greg Noll, Kelly Slater and Rob Machado. But you might not have heard of Dustin Ray, even though he’s a terrific surfer who lives in your neighborhood.”
Ray not only had success as a competetive surfer, but he was also one of the county’s better known big wave riders, a guy who had tackled large swells in Cayucos and 20 footers in Hawaii.
Ray — whose life had already been stricken with tragedy — died last weekend, leaving three young children behind.
There’s no official word yet on how he died, though he was known to struggle with addictions.
A fixture of the Morro Bay surfing scene, he started surfing when his dad introduced him to the waves at age 10.
“I just look forward to surf every day, ” Ray said in 2006.
In 2005, the mother of two of Ray’s children, Marcel Sueann Groesbeck, was on her way to pick up the kids when her car soared off the east side of Highway 1 in Cayucos. The car fell 50 to 60 feet, crashing through two pine trees and rolling in midair to land on 13th Street — about 200 feet away from the highway. Groesbeck was killed on impact.
She was a week away from her 24th birthday.
Longtime friend Mike Jones has set up a memorial page on Facebook. Donations are requested to help Ray’s mother, who will care for the children, who now have no parents.
Meanwhile, Jones writes, a paddle-out for Ray is being discussed for the end of the month.
UPDATE (From Mike Jone’s Facebook page): Dustin Ray paddle out and memorial to be held at Morro Rock on September 29th at 11 am. Please dress warm as it can get pretty cold down there, bring your boards, boats, kayaks, boogie boards, etc and join in on the paddle out. Please share this with any of your friends that would like to be involved in saying good bye to an Icon of the Central Coast. Here is the link to his family fundraiser page.
Tribune file photo (top): Joe Johnston
Bottom photo: Mike Jones, Azhiaziam
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