Missing Surfer's Life Honored On Oahu's North Shore - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Missing Surfer's Life Honored On Oahu's North Shore

Joaquin Velilla Joaquin Velilla
Mariela Acosta Mariela Acosta
Carmen Chevres Carmen Chevres
North Shore North Shore

By Howard Dashefsky

(KHNL) - Dozens gathered on Oahu's North Shore Tuesday to remember a man who disappeared while surfing last Friday.

"He's touched somebody out there to be one of the best surfers in the world and his name is going to come up in the future," said a friend of Joaquin Velilla. "He was inspiring, his life was inspiring."

It was a scene that has played itself out so many times before.

At a beach known for it's immense beauty, and for it's thunderous waves.

On this day family, friends and a fiance gather to honor the memory of 35-year-old Joaquin Velilla.

"He loved being here we all know that and I don't think he would ever imagined all these people coming together in his honor," said Velilla's fiance, Mariela Acosta.

Velilla failed to return from an evening surf session last Thursday at Pipeline.

His board was found the next day, but despite an extensive search Velilla was never found.

"I want to say I am very grateful, no words to express my gratitude," said Carmen Chevres, Velilla's mother.

Velilla's friends describe him as a skilled surfer and surfboard maker.

They say he did more than just shape boards. He helped shape lives.

"Oh, he was such a great man, he was always there for you and was one of my mentors a great man, human being and I will love him forever," said surfer Ernesto Valentin.

Professional surfer Christian Budroe competed against Velilla just last weekend at the Haleiwa International.

"He was hard to beat," said surfer Christian Budroe. "He had beat me previously in a heat in the final and we were talking back and forth and it was fun."

And for a mother, who was supposed to come here for a wedding, there is a sense of closure, and pride.

"I've heard so many good thing about him, people loved him and respected him what more could a mother ask for?" she told us. "It's like this is where he belongs".