“Legendary waterman” Tamayo Perry killed in shark attack while surfing off Oahu in Hawaii

An accomplished surfer and occasional actor died after sustaining fatal injuries in a shark attack off the island of Oahu in Hawaii, authorities said. Tamayo Perry, 49, was also a professional lifeguard for City and County of Honolulu Ocean Safety.

Perry was attacked while he was surfing near Goat Island on Sunday afternoon, Shayne Enright of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department said Sunday at a news conference that was streamed by CBS affiliate Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Ocean Safety and the city’s fire, police and emergency medical services departments responded to Mālaekahana Beach on Oahu’s North Shore just before 1 p.m. after a caller reported seeing a surfer who appeared to have suffered shark bites and was fatally injured, Enright said.

Lifeguards brought Perry to shore by jet ski and paramedics assisted with the death pronouncement, Enright said.

Perry, who worked as a lifeguard on the North Shore, began his career with the Ocean Safety department in July 2016, Enright said.

Ocean Safety personnel posted shark warnings in the area following the attack, Enright said.

Hawaii’s Tamayo Perry surfs while practicing for Da Hui Backdoor shootout at the Pipeline Masters on Oahu’s North Shore, Hawaii on January 2, 2019.


Honolulu Ocean Safety Acting Chief Kurt Lager, also speaking at the news conference, said Perry was “a lifeguard loved by all.”

“He’s well known on the North Shore. He’s a professional surfer known worldwide,” said Lager. “Tamayo’s personality was infectious, and as much as people loved him, he loved everyone else more.”

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi echoed those sentiments, describing Perry as a “legendary waterman” who was highly-respected. He called the death “a tragic loss.”

Perry initially made a name for himself in Hawaii and beyond in the early 2000s, when fellow athletes began to take note of his distinctive skills, particularly when it came to free surfing the North Shore pipeline, Surfer Magazine reported after his death. He went on to forge a career in Hollywood, making appearances in the film “Blue Crush” in 2002 and the fourth installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise in 2011. Perry also appeared in a 2011 episode of the TV series “Hawaii Five-O.”

John Sullivan, an actor who worked with Perry on an episode of “Hawaii Five-O,” called Perry the “nicest guy on Oahu.”

“He broadcasted positivity wherever he went,” Sullivan told CBS News on Monday.

Deadly shark attacks doubled in 2023 compared with the previous year, according to the International Shark Attack File, a database that keeps track of shark attacks reported around the world. One of the two fatal incidents reported in the U.S. last year happened in Hawaii, although shark attacks overall occurred most frequently in Florida.

Officials warned people in both Florida and Hawaii to remain alert earlier this summer after a series of shark attacks happened in both states on the same day, CBS News national correspondent Manuel Bojorquez  reported. In Florida, two teenagers and a woman were attacked by sharks in separate incidents that took place several miles from each other along a stretch of the Florida Panhandle. Meanwhile, in Hawaii, a woman was seriously injured in a shark attack off the coast of Oahu.

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