Last night, 15 of Kendra Payne’s friends got together and traded stories about Payne, 21, who died on Wednesday afternoon from injuries she sustained in a bicycling accident.
Payne, a senior aquatic biology major, was killed when she lost control of her bicycle and was hit by a trailer truck in while riding in Goleta on Wednesday morning. Born in Hong Kong, Payne grew up traveling around the world with her parents and first moved to the U.S. when she started college. Payne’s friends described her as a worldly adventurer and a uniquely honest person, with an unfaltering enthusiasm for life.
Payne was a member of the UCSB Triathlon Team, and in 2004 she placed third in her age group at the UCSB triathlon and first among her teammates. She held many jobs in the Santa Barbara area, working as a lifeguard and at the Santa Barbara Harbor, where she led people on scuba diving trips.
Fourth-year aquatic biology major Laura Kinney lived with Payne and spent last year studying abroad with her in Australia. Kinney said Payne, who loved reggae music and sometimes wore her hair in dreadlocks, was open-minded and always ready for a challenge.
“She was super adventurous,” Kinney said. “She would try stuff I would never do. She tried everything and never held back.”
Fifth-year Anisa Durand, a biopsychology major, said Payne was a very spiritual person who was interested in Buddhism. She said Payne had many interests and accomplishments, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro last year and sailing around Indonesia in pirate-infested waters during the summer.
Kinney said she and a group of friends took Payne, who had never seen snow, on her first snowboarding trip. She said she and her friends taught Payne how to snowboard and, even though Payne was constantly falling down, she always stood back up and tried again.
“She was so determined to learn how to snowboard,” Kinney said. “I have never seen anyone so bruised, but the next day she was like, ‘Let’s go.'”
Payne was a caring friend who was always eager to listen to people’s stories, senior global studies and French major Aurora Harshner said.
“You really know she’s listening and she would really think about her answers,” Harshner said. “She was not fake at all.”
Julie Helmus, who graduated last quarter with a degree in global studies, said she lived with Payne and will always remember her energy and her enthusiasm.
“She was always on the go, always moving,” Helmus said.
Helmus said her friend had plans to join the Peace Corps in Africa and attend graduate school after graduation this year.
Payne was a dedicated student who always worked hard at school, fourth-year mechanical engineering major Nicki Johnson said. Johnson said she will always remember watching her friend ride to class on her “old school” neon skateboard.
“You could always see her skating to school in a little skirt and sneakers,” Johnson said.
Payne’s cousin, Amanda Zarrillm, said she remembers the two of them holding diving contests when they were younger. Zarillm, a freshman psychology major, said her cousin was an incredible athlete who could always execute perfect dives. She said Payne exuded enthusiasm and joy in everything she did.
“She just loved life so much,” Zarrillm said. “She enjoyed every second.”