Legendary Surf Photographer Captures His Final Moments Before Collapsing

Larry Haynes, a beloved and iconic local surf photographer and filmmaker, captured what turned out to be his own final surf last week as after he concluded his session, he collapsed in the parking lot and passed away. He was 62.

Haynes, who also went by Fluid Vision, is a well-known Hawaiian surf photographer and filmmaker who had been covering the biggest waves and surfers in the area for the better part of 35 years.

“On every major swell for over 20 years, he has been swimming with a heavy water-housed movie camera in the heaviest conditions. And he does so with a refreshingly positive attitude and a huge smile on his face,” fellow surf photographer Rob Gilley wrote about Haynes in 2011.

“The guy is a human bulldog. Larry has used his athletic talent, considerable courage, and oceanic instinct to hold firm in the pit and then dodge potential catastrophes with the thinnest of margins for what seems like forever.”

On February 9, Haynes concluded a session on his stand-up paddleboard at Laniakea Beach, came to shore, and made his way to the parking lot where he collapsed from what is being reported as cardiac arrest.

“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,” a friend of Haynes, Mike Prickett, tells KHON News.

Surfers and other surf photographers have been expressing their condolences, including Kelly Slater who is widely recognized as the greatest professional surfer of all time.

“This man is a staple in our lives, traveling the globe and filming everyone who’s ever caught a wave in front of him,” Slater wrote on Instagram. “It’s hard to imagine a surfing world without Larry in it always screaming us into waves and throwing good vibes. Gonna really miss this guy.”

While his friends and family mourned his loss, lifeguards reached out to another of Hayne’s friends, Brian Bielmann, on February 12 to collect his board and give it back to his family. It was with that board that they found a GoPro attached to Hayne’s paddle, and on it, footage of his final surf.

“I went down and got it this morning and immediately took it home and went on the computer,” Bielmann tells KHON.

“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.”

Friends and family say that seeing this footage of Haynes out on the waves for the final time is the best possible way for them to remember the fearless photographer.

“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 says. “I was like, that’s what made me start crying.”

Haynes is survived by his daughter, Lily.