Search For Missing Surfer on North Shore of Oahu

By: Diane Ako

PUPUKEA (KHNL)- The search for a missing North Shore surfer continues this evening. Dozens of rescue crews are combing the beaches and water looking for him. 35 year old Joaquin Velilla was a surfboard shaper and a well known face in the area. He was surfing at pipeline at dusk yesterday and never came back to shore.

Search crews started up the search for him again at first light today. The coast guard and fire department have aircraft over the water. On the beach, lifeguards on ATVs and firemen on foot search for any signs, but so far nothing. They're looking along a 10 mile stretch from Kawela to Kaena Point, and flying out 5 miles off shore. Colleagues say this hits close to home.

Friend and surfboard shaper Jeff Bushman says, "The surf last night was coming up. It was sizeable, 10-12'. Pipeline was pretty crowded. I heard at dark there were still 60+ people in the water. If you went missing it was one of those things where he just wasn't seen."

Crews plan to look for Velilla until sundown. So far they are still calling this a rescue not a recovery. Crews say today the currents were going both north and southwest, so they had to search a large area. This can change by tomorrow.