Surfers recall freak accident that claimed life of paddler - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Surfers recall freak accident that claimed life of stand up paddler

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Regulars at a surf spot just off Kewalo Basin were back in the water Thursday afternoon -- a day after a standup paddler died in an apparent freak accident there.

Just off Kewalo Waterfront Park is a surf spot known as "Straight Out," so named because it is literally straight out from Kewalo Basin. It was also the spot where Roy Ito, Jr., was considered a regular in the lineup.

According to surfers, the 52-year-old Ito went there with his standup paddle board nearly every day, usually a little bit before sunset.

"He's a regular out here, he would always come out here late afternoon," said Wayson Au Young.

The other regulars at the surf spot said he was quiet but friendly, and was a familiar face out on the water.

Those regulars were among those who sprang into action after the accident.

"Pretty much he fell off his board and came up. We think his skeg hit him because he was all bloody instantly," said Troy Okubo, who was near Ito when the accident happened.

"He just wiped out. And he got on his board, did a couple of paddles and that was it. He just went limp. And then he was in a pool of blood," said another nearby surfer, Zach Cui.

Okubo said the ten to 15 surfers who were out at the time reacted quickly to help bring him to shore. 

"All I heard was 'call 911, call 911,' and I noticed everyone was paddling Roy in," said Au Young, who was on shore. "He was just lying on his board, just motionless. It was pretty bad, so we knew it was a bad thing."

"The whole lineup came in with him. Everyone was trying to help out," said Okubo.

"We all just came together, all the boys and some of the ladies, and we just towed him in as fast as we could," said Cui.

Witnesses said Ito was a big man, and it took all of them to bring him out of the water and up the wall to the parking lot. Ito was taken to in critical condition to the Queen's Medical Center, where he died.

The city medical examiner's office ordered an autopsy, but surfers said that the skeg on his board cut his upper thigh and may have severed an artery.

Many of the surfers went back into the water Thursday afternoon, minus one.

"He was always cool and respectful. We're gonna miss him in the lineup," said Cui. "It as always cool to see him out there."

 

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