Tamayo Perry: one of the best surfers ever at Pipeline | Photo: Perry Archive

Veteran Pipeline surfer, lifeguard, and actor Tamayo Perry died after being attacked by a shark near Moku'auia (Goat Island) in Laie, Oahu, Hawaii.

Tamayo, 49, was surfing off the east coast of Oahu when the attack took place on Sunday morning, June 23.

Local lifeguards issued the alert and brought Perry's lifeless body on a jet ski back to shore.

When the Honolulu Emergency Services arrived at Malaekahana Beach, the well-known Hawaiian freesurfer was pronounced dead.

The corpse showed signs of having been bitten more than once by the ocean's predator, with a leg and an arm missing.

Mastering Pipe

Tamayo Perry was born in 1975 and raised on the East Side of Oahu. He started surfing at 12.

Soon, he formed a close friendship with future pop star Jack Johnson, who lived near Pipeline.

During his late teens, Perry was known as a quiet, emerging local surfer who often borrowed surfboards due to a lack of sponsorship.

By 1997, this slender goofy-footer had developed a unique tube-riding style influenced by his idols, Gerry Lopez and Tom Carroll, renowned Pipeline surfers of an earlier era.

Concurrently, Perry embraced a devout born-again Christian faith.

When asked by a surf magazine to name the last two books he read, he mentioned The Bible and "The End: 50 Reasons Why Jesus Christ Could Return Before the Year 2000."

Perry has competed in selective events with moderate success, including a victory (1999) and a fourth place (2000) at the Pipe Masters Trials and a fifth in the Billabong Pro Trials at Teahupoo.

Despite this, by 2005, he was widely considered the most dominant surfer at Pipeline.

Perry featured in over a dozen surf videos, such as "The Bomb" (1998), "Revelation" (2000), "All Aboard" (2002), and "Loaded Pipe" (2004).

Tamayo Perry: he appeared in 'Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' | Photo: Walt Disney

Fearless and Friendly

The North Shore surfer often traveled to Teahupoo with his bodyboarder wife, Emilia. Together, they ran the Oahu Surfing Experience in Hawaii.

In the past, he suffered a near-fatal head injury at Pipeline after being hit by a discarded surfboard.

The event led him to start a career as a lifeguard with Honolulu Ocean Safety, where he embraced the need to share good surf etiquette with all surfers.

As an actor, he appeared in "Blue Crush" (2002), "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (2003), and "Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" (2011).

Tamayo Perry was a fearless charger with many friends, a happy individual with a big heart, a smile, and a deep sense of duty.

According to Hawaii's Division of Aquatic Resources, he was the first surfer to die in Oahu due to a shark attack.

So far, the only fatal incidents involving sharks and surfers in the archipelago occurred in Maui in 2004 and 2023.

Support Perry's legacy via gofundme.com/f/supporting-tamayo-perrys-legacy


Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com

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