HONOLULU (KHON) — Hawaii is mourning the loss of an iconic local surf photographer, but his loved ones are taking comfort in seeing some of his final moments captured on camera.
Just weeks after filming water shots at the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, Larry Haynes unexpectedly died after a surfing session on Thursday.
On Sunday, his friends and family found the last moments of his life, which Haynes himself caught on video. It was pure joy as he did what he loved.
“Here it is. He had this incredible life right up till the end. He could not have filled any more into his life than he did,” Haynes’ friend Brian Bielmann said.
After a stand-up paddleboarding session at Hawaii’s Laniakea Beach, Haynes collapsed in the parking lot.
“We were so, so shocked. He just did the Eddie Aikau with us. He did the Pipe contest. He does everything with a smile; and then, we just lost him. He caught a wave at Laniakea. And, then, he came in and collapsed,” Haynes’ friend Mike Prickett said.
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Haynes was a surf photographer for 35 years, known for his courage and athleticism in the face of big waves.
“He’s the most bad*** of all photographers ever of all time. He was such a bull. And, he would go anywhere and do anything and have no fear,” Bielmann said.
In fact, he was shooting at the Banzai Pipeline Hawaii at Ehukai Beach Park just hours before he passed.
Lifeguards called Bielmann to collect Haynes’ board to give back to his family. There, he found a GoPro on the paddle containing the final moments of Haynes’ legendary life.
“I went down and got it this morning and immediately took it home and went on the computer,” Bielmann said. “There must have been 40 files, and we looked through all of them. And, then, he had a lot of, like, non-start type waves and over and over and finally caught this beautiful wave and rode it for a long time. And, by the end of it, we were cheering and yelling and crying — the whole everything.”
A poetic way for him to go — capturing the magic in the water as he did during this year’s Eddie.
While friends shed tears at losing him, they smile at the way he went out.
“It’s really cool. In the footage as well because he gets his wave and right before he turns off the camera he had this Larry smile that we all knew from him,” Prickett said. “I was like, that’s what made me start crying.”
Haynes is survived by his daughter, Lilly.