North Shore Surfer Presumed To Have Drowned
Lack of safety equipment cited in passing of Kirk Passmore
32-year old surfer Kirk Passmore is presumed to have drowned yesterday morning while surfing massive 20-25’ waves near Alligator Rock on the North Shore of Oahu. After wiping out on a set wave, witnesses said they say Kirk’s legs protruding from the water. “When he surfaced it looked like he had broken his eardrum or maybe his neck because his feet popped up and he was facing down. He may have had vertigo, or lost his equilibrium,” said Big Wave World Tour champion Jamie Sterling to Surfing Magazine.
Wednesday marked the first big swell of the North Shore surf season, and Passmore was surfing with a group that included John John Florence, Nathan Fletcher, Jamie Mitchell, and ASP World Tour surfer Damien Hobgood.
Immediately following Passmore’s wipeout, rescuers on PWCs began combing the area but were unable to retrieve him. According to multiple reports, Passmore was one of the few surfers not wearing a floatation device that could have helped rescuers. “They (the rescuers) were trying to grab him but they had nothing to hold on to,” said local big wave surfer Chris Owens to www.hawaiinewsnow.com. “What would have saved him is if he had a float vest on. Everybody wears float vests nowadays,” added Owens. Rescue efforts are ongoing, but as of press time his body has not been found.
An experienced and talented big wave surfer, Passmore moved to the North Shore two years ago and was a bartender at Banzai Sushi as well as a partner in Third Stone surf shop in nearby Waialua. Alligator Rock is the same surf break that famed big wave rider Todd Chesser passed away at in 1997.
“He was a super nice guy,” said longtime friend and pro surfer Rocky Whitlock. “He was so psyched to paddle into big waves. Guys would be towing in at Todos Santos but he’d keep paddling into them. He was someone I always looked up to and will be missed dearly by family and friends. The last time I surfed with him was at Off The Wall, his board hit him in the face pretty bad and he needed stitches, but he stayed out for another 45-minutes. That’s the kind of guy he was,” added Whitlock.
TransWorld SURF would like to extend our deepest condolences to friends and family of Kirk. RIP homie, you will be greatly missed.