KEAAU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Family and friends are still trying to cope with the loss of a Keaau 16 year old who died in a kayaking accident on Monday.
Friends took a picture … a last picture … of Maka'ala Lum Ho on his way to a day of fishing. The plan was to spend the beautiful summer day on shore near the Kumukahi lighthouse in Kapoho. His buddies, Damien and Joey, went along. Somehow, they got hold of a kayak and decided to use it for fishing, but Maka had never been kayaking before.
"They were trying to catch waves, and it capsized," says Maka's dad, Greg Lum Ho, "and he got separated from his friends. His friend got stuck up on the rocks and couldn't get to Maka."
Rescuers found him underwater - about a hundred yards offshore. On his Facebook page, friend Damien, wrote, "I'm so, so, so, so, sorry, I couldn't save you, brah. Me and Joey tried so hard, but the current and waves were just too strong."
"He had such a big heart. Had over 100 people at the hospital last night, just wanted to say goodbye to Maka because he touched everybody," says his father.
The Keaau high school junior loved basketball, and his summer league coach at the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island says the starting guard was all heart. Maka's last game was Sunday. "He laid it all out there, and he told me he played 110%, and he did. I was so proud of him," says coach Bubba Victor.
Another friend's Facebook message pays tribute to Maka's love for the game. Jacy writes, "I hope they have computers in paradise, 'cause I really want you to log on. With your skills and basketball smartness, help me ... I dedicate every game, everytime I touch a ball, to you."
And Maka's dad tearfully adds that a day didn't go by without his son saying he loved his father. "Everyday. I mean, and he was like a macho boy. You know how you are, you're a teenager, you don't want people to go, 'Oh, you tell your dad you love him', but he didn't care 'cause he loved me."
Despite their sadness, his father insisted his son's basketball team continue with practice Tuesday - saying it's exactly what Maka would have wanted.
The Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island held a prayer vigil Tuesday evening, and Coach Victor says some of the kids were having a hard time with the loss. Greg Lum Ho says they're also planning a memorial service soon for his son, who he describes as, "the greatest kid you could ever have."
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