Iconic Pipeline Surfer Tamayo Perry Killed By Shark In Hawaii - Stab Mag
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Iconic Pipeline Surfer Tamayo Perry Killed By Shark In Hawaii

RIP to one of the greats.

news // Jun 24, 2024
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

There is some news that’s almost too horrifying and heartbreaking to believe. 

Today on Oahu, news spread that beloved North Shore icon Tamayo Perry was killed by a shark while surfing Goat Island, a wave off the east coast of Oahu that he is almost synonymous with. His body was reportedly found on the island by local surfers with an arm and a leg missing.

Tamayo, 49, was born and raised on the east side and made his career on the North Shore, both as a professional surfer and later a lifeguard.

One of the most durable and committed pipeline specialists of all time, Tamayo has long sat in the pantheon of grades alongside Lopez, Andy and Bruce Irons, Sean, Briley, Michael and Derek Ho.

While 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton famously lost her arm to a tiger shark in Kauai in 2003, this is the first time to our knowledge that a professional surfer has been killed by a shark. It is truly unfathomable.

Our hearts go out to Tamayo’s international community of friends, and his family in Hawaii. 

We’ll populate remembrances below, as there are countless surfers around the world who were touched by Tamayo. 

From the Encyclopedia of Surfing:

Hard-charging, God-fearing Pipeline specialist from Oahu’s North Shore; named by Surfing magazine in 2002 as “most likely to get the barrel of the year.” Perry was born (1975) and raised on the East Side of Oahu, began surfing at age 12, and soon became best friends with future pop crooner Jack Johnson, who lived in a beachfront house at Pipeline.

Perry was known in his late teenage years as the quiet up-and-coming local boy who had to borrow surfboards because he had no sponsors. By 1997, the wiry goofyfooter had gone a long way to developing a tuberiding style combining traits from Gerry Lopez and Tom Carroll, his two favorite old-school Pipeline surfers. He’d meanwhile become a devout born-again Christian: Asked by a surf magazine to name the last two books he’d read, Perry listed the Bible and The End: 50 Reasons Why Jesus Christ Could Return Before the Year 2000.

Perry has competed selectively, and with modest success, finishing fourth in the 2000 Pipeline Masters Trials and fifth in the Billabong Pro Trials at Teahupoo. Nonetheless, by 2005 he was generally regarded as Pipeline’s single most dominate surfer.

Perry has appeared in more than a dozen surf videos, including The Bomb (1998), Revelation (2000), All Aboard (2002), and Loaded Pipe (2004). Emila Perry, Tamayo’s Australian-born wife, is a professional bodyboarder.

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