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Tamayo Perry, Legendary Surfer & ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Actor, Dies in Oahu Shark Attack

Rescuers used a Jet Ski to recover Tamayo Perry, who was pronounced dead after a shark bit him multiple times, according to reports.
Pipeline surfer Tamayo PerryPipeline surfer Tamayo Perry; (photo/Shutterstock)
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The original version of this story was published on The Inertia.

Tamayo Perry was a dominant force at Pipeline, the North Shore’s crown jewel, and its South Pacific cousin, Teahupo’o.

He was a dedicated public servant guarding Hawaii’s waters for locals and beachgoers alike. He even played a small role as an actor 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 was killed in a shark attack.

Perry was reportedly surfing near Laie, where 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 was made reporting someone had been injured in the water. Rescuers used a Jet Ski to recover Perry, but they pronounced him dead at the scene.

A spokesperson told Hawaii News Now that the surfer might have suffered multiple bites and that the shark was most likely a tiger shark (but the species has not been confirmed yet).

The attack was reportedly gruesome in nature.

Tamayo Perry: A Life Well-Lived

Perry’s death did not take away from the life he lived. He was well-loved and had worked for Honolulu Ocean Safety as a North Shore lifeguard since 2016.

“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, speaking at a news conference Sunday. ”Tamayo’s personality was infectious, and as much as people loved him, he loved everyone else more.”

Perry was a skilled barrel rider. In the early 2000s, his prowess for finding himself deep in the tube became legendary. A skilled waterman, 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 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 for we will all miss his joyful, grateful and loving energy and aloha that he would always share.”

Perry was 49 years old.

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