On March 16, 2008, a windy, Sunday afternoon with solid, 8-foot Hawaiian waves, the Banzai Pipeline took another life. Mililani’s Joshua Nakata, 23, was pronounced dead at Kahuku Hospital after he hit his head while bodyboarding Pipe. His tragic death is a reminder of the dangerous consequences that come with surfing the Pipeline and is the fifth casualty at the world’s most deadly wave in the last three years. According to local sources, Nakata was an avid wave rider and drowned while paddling back out to the lineup. Apparently, the former UPS worker was bombarded by a clean up set when a wave drove him to the bottom that caused him to his head. At the time of the accident it was low tide and Josh was stuck on the inside.
“He duck dived the first wave they said and after that they didn’t see him come up for 10-15 minutes,” said Kalai Nakata, Joshua’s younger brother. “And when he came up his board was already ripped off his arm.”
Lifeguards quickly yanked Joshua out of the water and began CPR on Ehukai Beach Park. The body boarder was rushed to Kahuku Hospital and was later pronounced dead. According to the Nakata ‘ohana, Joshua was an experienced wave rider who would often surf seven days consecutively and was familiar with the North Shore’s dangerous surf.
“I know that he was doing what he wanted,” said Belinda Nakata, Josh’s mother. “What he loved to do and every time I look at the ocean I’ll see him out there.”
A memorial service is planned for Monday March 24, but no location has been designated yet. Check back with www.SurfingMagazine.com for the memorial service time and place. And for more details as the story develops further.