Professional surf photographer's gear stolen in burglary - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Professional surf photographer's gear stolen in burglary

Damea Dorsey Damea Dorsey

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

Sunset Beach (HawaiiNewsNow) - The monster waves on Oahu's North Shore created a lot of excitement for surfers and spectators. But for one professional surf photographer from California, this winter trip to Hawaii has been bittersweet.

For Damea Dorsey, it was quite a rush looking through the camera lens and snapping away as surfers took on one of the best swells in years. But all he has left are those memories, after his camera gear and the photos he took -- about 1,000 of them -- were stolen in a burglary.

The heart-thumping action created by the winter waves drew thousands of people to Oahu's North Shore, including famed surf photographer Damea Dorsey.

"There's a reason why the surfers and the photographers and the publications, why we consider this the mecca of our sport," Dorsey said.

But the California native, who has traveled the world to capture picture-perfect rides, was knocked off his feet after he discovered someone stole his camera equipment -- about $15,000 to $20,000 worth -- in a break-in at the Sunset Beach home he was staying at.

"It was gut-wrenching, to say the least," he said.

He says the thieves entered the beach-front rental on Holawa Place through a bathroom window and walked off with his professional camera, multiple lenses, his laptop computer, and the hard drive that held all of his photos from last week's Billabong Pro on Maui.

"It was an amazing swell and it was perfect," he said. "The surf was amazing and you can't reproduce that shoot. You can't go do it again."

Dorsey, who sells his pictures to various publications, says insurance will cover the equipment itself but not his lost income.

He isn't the only property crime victim on the North Shore this busy surf season. According to Honolulu police, there were 26 thefts, seven car break-ins, three stolen vehicles and three burglaries reported during a two-week period that ended Saturday.

"To think that it's never happened anywhere else in the world after seven years of shooting photos and then it happened here in Hawaii, where it's such a beautiful place, it's really, it's sad," Dorsey said.

Dorsey really wants his surf photos back, calling them irreplaceable. He's offering a $500 reward for his hard drive, no questions asked.

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