LITTLE RIVER, S.C. (WBTW) — A life taken too soon will be remembered this weekend in a special way — under the sun and out in the water on a fun boat ride.

The 3rd annual memorial for Brannagan “Kai” Locklear of Little River will take place Saturday morning with a jet ski and boat ride along the Intracoastal Waterway near the Peter Vaught Sr. boat landing.

Kai died in December 2020 at 19 years old. His family says he was on a work trip in Virginia when he was involved in a car crash during a winter storm.

Kai’s mom, Billie Deese, said her son loved to be out on the water with his family and friends.

“This is something he would do seven days a week if he could,” she said.

It’s those memories that the family will hold onto forever.

“I remember when we were just on the water on the jet skis,” said his sister, Harper Deese.

Kai’s mom remembers getting the news of his crash.

“It’s just not a call that any mother would want,” she said. “I will never forget it.

Since then, the community has come together each year to honor Kai’s life with the jet ski and boat ride.

“With the water, family, and friends, the community has really showed up,” Billie Deese said. “I’m just grateful.“ 

More than 60 riders are expected for this year’s event, which Kai’s mom said is being organized by Adam Bucklear with Carolina Ski Riders.

“Him and his wife, Lauren, wanted to do something special for Kai and me, and they thought this would be the best thing to do because we all loved to jet ski, and he loved to jet ski, and he loved the water, and Adam got a chance to see that,” Billie Deese said.

The ride will feature Carolina Ski riders, many family members and friends, and some local restaurants are even pitching in.

” Just seeing everyone happy knowing that we are still keeping Kai’s name alive and just getting together with family and friends is always good for his soul and good for his family as well,” said Tionna Otten, Kai’s girlfriend of three years.

Registration for the event is at 9 a.m. Saturday. Riders will leave the dock an hour later to head toward Holden Beach in North Carolina.