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Tamayo Perry, Renowned Surfer and Actor, Killed in Tragic Shark Attack off Oahu

Tamayo Perry, a celebrated surfer, lifeguard, and actor known for his roles in films such as “Blue Crush” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” was tragically killed in a shark attack near the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, on Sunday, June 23, 2024. The 49-year-old was attacked while surfing near Goat Island, a popular spot for local surfers.

Perry was a beloved figure in the surfing community and had been a lifeguard with Honolulu Ocean Safety since 2016. He also served as a surf coach and competed in the prestigious Pipeline Master Trials for many years. His untimely death has left the local community and the surfing world in mourning.

The first emergency call came in just before 1 p.m. on Sunday. According to Shayne Enright, spokeswoman for the Honolulu Emergency Services Department, rescuers responded swiftly to the scene at Mālaekahana Beach via jet ski. Perry’s body, which bore multiple shark bites, was brought to shore, where he was pronounced dead. Officials reported that Perry had lost an arm and a leg in the attack.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi expressed deep sorrow over Perry’s death, describing him as a “legendary waterman” who “exemplified bravery, commitment, and a deep sense of duty.” Mayor Blangiardi emphasized Perry’s heroic efforts in ensuring the safety of both residents and visitors, noting that his contributions would never be forgotten.

Acting Ocean Safety Chief Kurt Lager highlighted Perry’s infectious personality and his worldwide recognition as a professional surfer. “Tamayo’s personality was infectious, and as much as people loved him, he loved everyone else more,” Lager said.

Perry’s career spanned over 15 years as a professional surfer, during which he won the Pipeline Master Trials in 1999. The Pipeline, known for its deadly waves, was Perry’s specialty. He was renowned for his ability to navigate some of the world’s most dangerous waves, gaining respect and admiration from the global surfing community.

Beyond surfing, Perry also had a passion for acting. He appeared in several films and television shows, including “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle,” “Lost,” and “Hawaii Five-O.” His role in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” marked a notable moment in his acting career.

Perry is survived by his wife, Emilia Perry, a former professional bodyboarder from Western Australia. The couple ran a surf school business, Oahu Surfing Experience, where they shared their extensive ocean knowledge with students. Emilia, who met Perry while bodyboarding at Pipeline, described the profound impact he had on her life and surfing career.

“The vast amounts of ocean knowledge that Tamayo has ingrained in me over the years is priceless,” she wrote on their business website.

Brendan Buckley, editor of Stab Magazine, noted that Perry was possibly the first high-level surfer widely known and respected to be killed by a shark. Buckley highlighted Perry’s reputation for tackling big, challenging waves and being a well-documented surfer of his era.

Perry’s tragic death is a stark reminder of the risks faced by lifeguards and surfers. Despite the inherent dangers, Perry’s dedication to the ocean and the community he served remains a testament to his character and spirit.

According to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File, there were 120 shark bite incidents worldwide in 2023, with 36 occurring in the US. Of these, eight bites were in Hawaii, one of which was fatal. Surfers accounted for 42% of the bites globally. The increase in shark attacks has been linked to factors such as warming ocean temperatures, which may drive sharks into cooler waters and closer to human activity.

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