Beautiful Christian Photo by Judy Stenovich
Christian was said to be one of the most graceful, beautiful, and kind surfers to grace the Santa Cruz lineup. Her long battle with brain cancer and the strength she showed through her numerous surgeries was inspirational to everyone.
Christian was born Feburary 21, 1971 in Heidelberg, Germany. She moved to Santa Cruz at 4 years of age. She attended Westlake Elementary, Mission Hill Jr. High (where she was student body president), Harbor High, Cabrillo College, and San Jose State University. During her high school and college years Christian became an accomplished basketball player. Her shooting skills continued to teach humility as well as being costly to family and friends alike.
Christian embraced surfing with the same passion and "go for it" attitude that characterized everything she did in life. A member of the Santa Cruz Longboard Union, Christian surfed daily when conditions and her health permitted. She amazed everyone when she went surfing one week after undergoing brain surgery.
One of Christian's fondest memories came during her last summer (2003) when she was surfing Cowell's. As she surfed a wave alone, she was startled when she looked down to see two dolphins, one on each side of her surfboard, accompanying her on a ride she would later describe as "spiritual".
Describing Christian's personality as magnetic would be an understatement. She was blessed with the ability to enter a room full of strangers and walk out with a crowd of friends.
Christian passed away at the age of 33 on April 17, 2004 at the UCSF Medical Center. She is survived by her daughter Lorrynn Hamel-Domhoff; her parents, Georgia Hamel and Christopher McGriff, all of Santa Cruz; her Opa Gene Hamel of Fort Bragg, CA; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and a very large adopted extended family.