Ransom was a junior at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
"He was a water boy," said Ransom's father, Matt. "Seemed almost fitting that the lord would take him that way because he loved the water."
The teen's father told Eyewitness News that his son had called home that morning just before going into the water.
"He was really excited," Ransom said. "He said, 'Mom, I can't believe these waves.' She was apprehensive because he'd never been to that beach before, and she just told him to be careful and give her a call when he was finished."
But the call that came was not from their son, but rather his friend telling the family that their son had been attacked and killed by a shark.
The family rushed to Santa Barbara still in shock over what had happened.
"A lot of his roommates were there," the Ransom said. "Everybody was devastated. There wasn't a lot of talking going on, to tell you the truth."
Although Luke Ransom was just another guy on the Perris High School swim team, friends say they could always tell him apart.
"He'd always wear his sunscreen on his nose," said one friend. "That's how we know him."
The Department of Fish and Game said Ransom was most likely killed by a great white shark, perhaps 20 feet long.
Despite the shark attack, the beach has since reopened.
Ransom's father says that's as it should be.
"The ocean is such a beautiful place for surfers and scuba divers and beach goers," Ransom said. "It's a beautiful part of nature, so a few sharks here or there shouldn't stop people from enjoying such a beautiful place on the Earth."