The search continues for Kirk.
He was reported missing at about 11:20 a.m. Wednesday in an area known as "Alligator Rock" outer reef.
According to the Coast Guard, the surfer, identified as Kirk Passmore of Haleiwa, was last seen wearing black board shorts and no shirt. Passmore is 32 years old and has red hair. His broken surfboard was located onshore.
Passmore's family issued the following statement Thursday morning.
February 11, 1981 to November 13, 2013
"Kirk was born February 11, 1981 in Orem, Utah. He grew up in Carlsbad, California and graduated from Carlsbad High School in 1999 where he was a member of the school's surf team for four years. As a youth, he was active in pop warner football, little league baseball, and basketball but his love was in surfing.
He started coming to Hawaii when he was 14 and was an experienced and expert surfer. He was not new to big wave surfing, having surfed most of the well-known big wave locations, including Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, Pipeline and outer reefs on the north shores of Hawaii. He was a familiar face at Todos Santos off Baja California. He also surfed Maverick's in northern California and Puerto Escondido in Mainland Mexico. He spent 3 years in the southern coast of France. He moved to the north shore of Hawaii full-time in the spring of 2012.
Kirk was a part owner of Third Stone Surfboards in Wailua, Hawaii and a Manager at Bonzai Sushi in Haleiwa, Hawaii.
He is survived by his mother, Diane Passmore (Orem, Utah), father and step-mother, David and Karey Passmore (Sunset Beach, Hawaii), siblings, Alyson Adams (Highland, Utah); Merrily Roberts (Encinitas, California) and Matthew Passmore (serving an LDS mission in New York, New York).
The family wishes to thank the Coast Guard, the City and County of Honolulu lifeguards and Fire Department who continue the search."
An Ocean Safety spokesperson says Passmore is an experienced surfer, but did not have any safety gear. Other surfers in the area tried to swim out to him, but were unsuccessful.
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was launched from Air Station Barber’s Point at approximately 12 p.m. and the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island was diverted at 2 p.m. to assist in search efforts.
The Honolulu Fire Department and Ocean Safety are also searching with air, land, and ocean assets.
The Coast Guard will search throughout the night. Honolulu Fire Department and Ocean Safety will suspend their search and sundown and resume searching at first light.
Authorities continue searching Thursday for an experienced surfer who is missing after wiping out on a 20-foot wave off Oahu's North Shore.
The surfer, who Honolulu police say is Kirk Passmore, 32, a business owner and bartender, was last seen late Wednesday morning at a surfing spot known as Alligator Rock in Haleiwa, KHNL reported.
Witnesses told the station that the experienced big-wave surfer fell off his board on the 20-foot swell and was hit by another wave. His partially damaged surfboard was found down the beach.
"He was seen swimming down with his feet up above the surface, and we think he broke his eardrum because what happens when you break your eardrum is you have complete loss of balance and you have vertigo," Jamie Sterling, a surfer who saw Passmore wipe out, told KHNL.
Coast Guard crews, Ocean Safety lifeguards, the Honolulu Fire Department and fellow surfers searched for Passmore on Wednesday to no avail. The Coast Guard continued searching through the night, while other rescuers suspended their search until sunrise.
A helicopter, jet skis and a Coast Guard cutter were used in the search, KHNL reported.
Oahu's North Shore was under a high-surf warning, with waves reaching 25 to 35 feet, and some surfers questioned why Passmore wasn't wearing a flotation vest in the perilous conditions.
"See, what would have saved him is if he had a float vest on. Everybody wears float vests nowadays," Chris Owens, who searched for Passmore after seeing him go underwater, told KHNL.
Added champion paddle boarder Jamie Mitchell, "Some of the best big-wave guys in the world are out there today and they all had their flotation vests and stuff. I guess it just goes to show that it can happen to anyone at any time."
Steve Matthews, who told the station that he co-owned a surf shop with Passmore, said Passmore moved to the North Shore from California about two years ago, but he has many years' experience riding large waves in Hawaii, Mexico and elsewhere.
Passmore's co-workers at the Banzai Sushi Bar in Haleiwa said the restaurant closed down for the night out of respect for Passmore.
Passmore is 6-foot-3 and weighs about 185 pounds. He has reddish hair and hazel eyes and was wearing black board shorts at the time of the wipeout.
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