Legendary Pipe Surfer Tamayo Perry Killed In Hawaii Shark Attack


Tamayo Perry was a dominant force at Pipeline and its South Pacific cousin, Teahupo’o. He was a dedicated public servant guarding Hawaii’s waters for locals and tourists alike. He even had a small acting role in Pirates of the Caribbean, among other movies. And according to friends, he did it all humbly. That beautiful life came to a tragic end on Oahu’s east side this weekend when Perry died in a shark attack.

Perry was surfing near Laie when county and Honolulu police and fire crews responded to a shark attack incident. Perry was at a surf spot known as Goat Island when an emergency call reported someone injured in the water. Rescuers used a Jet Ski to recover Perry, who was pronounced dead at the scene. A spokesperson told Hawaii News Now that the surfer might have suffered multiple bites and that it was most likely a tiger shark.

The attack was reportedly gruesome in nature.

Stuff of legend

His death did not take away from the life Perry lived. He was well-loved and had worked for Honolulu Ocean Safety as a North Shore lifeguard since 2016. The department was obviously devastated by the loss of one of its own.

“Tamayo Perry was a lifeguard loved by all, well-known on the North Shore, a professional surfer known worldwide,” Acting Ocean Safety Chief Kurt Lager said in a news conference on Sunday. ”Tamayo’s personality was infectious, and as much as people loved him, he loved everyone else more.”

Perry was a skilled barrel rider. His prowess for finding himself deep in the tube became the stuff of legend in the early 2000s. He also ran a surf school with his wife Emilia, Oahu Surfing Experience.

The surf world mourned the death of Perry, whose good nature endeared him to so many. “[Just heard the] news of the passing of my great mate, neighbor, and brother, Tamayo Perry,” wrote Barton Lynch. “He lives less than 50 meters from us. We see each other nearly every day and our whole family is devastated by the news and finding it hard to believe. It was only a couple of weeks ago that Lion and I surfed the very spot with Tamayo and @emiliaperry and our hearts are broken for her, his family, and our entire community…We will all miss his joyful, grateful, and loving energy…”

Tamayo Perry was 49 years old.


The original version of this story appeared in The Inertia.