Remembering Tamayo Perry: A Surfer’s Legacy

Renowned surfer and occasional actor, Tamayo Perry, tragically passed away following a fatal shark attack off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, authorities confirmed. Perry, 49, served as a dedicated lifeguard for the City and County of Honolulu Ocean Safety, deeply respected among his peers.

The incident occurred while Perry was surfing near Goat Island on a Sunday afternoon, as detailed by Shayne Enright from the Honolulu Emergency Services Department during a streamed news conference by Hawaii News Now, a CBS affiliate.

Emergency responders from Honolulu Ocean Safety, along with fire, police, and medical services, swiftly attended to the scene at Mālaekahana Beach on Oahu’s North Shore after reports of a surfer injured in a shark encounter.

Lifeguards transported Perry to shore using a jet ski, where paramedics sadly pronounced him deceased, Enright confirmed. Perry, who had been a fixture on the North Shore as a lifeguard since July 2016, was deeply beloved within the community.

Following the tragic event, warnings about shark activity were issued in the area by Ocean Safety personnel. Acting Chief Kurt Lager, also speaking at the press conference, described Perry as universally adored: “He’s a professional surfer of global renown, cherished on the North Shore for his infectious personality. Tamayo loved everyone as much as he was loved.”

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi echoed these sentiments, mourning Perry’s passing as a significant loss: “Tamayo was a legendary waterman and highly respected throughout our islands.”

Perry’s career began gaining recognition in the early 2000s, particularly for his mastery of free surfing at North Shore’s Pipeline, as noted by Surfer Magazine. He later transitioned into acting, appearing in notable productions such as “Blue Crush” (2002) and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” (2011), alongside a guest role in “Hawaii Five-O” in 2011.

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John Sullivan, a colleague from “Hawaii Five-O,” remembered Perry as Oahu’s most amiable figure: “He exuded positivity wherever he went.”

Reflecting on Perry’s impact, Brendan Buckley from Stab Magazine remarked on Perry’s reverence in the surfing world: “Tamayo wasn’t chasing world titles but instead sought out the biggest, most daring waves, earning immense respect globally.”

In his own words on his website, Perry shared how a life-threatening incident at Pipeline shaped his dedication to surf safety and etiquette: “The lessons from that experience inspired me to teach proper surf etiquette and safety.”

Emilia Perry, his wife and a former professional bodyboarder, shared their deep bond forged through their love for the ocean: “Tamayo’s ocean knowledge was invaluable, a connection that began when we met chasing Pipeline waves.”

Tamayo Perry leaves behind a legacy of courage, passion for surfing, and a commitment to safety that resonates deeply with the surfing community worldwide. His passing is mourned as a loss to both the surfing and acting worlds, leaving behind memories of a man who lived and loved the waves of Oahu.

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