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Ode to Larry Haynes
In “On The Road,” Jack Kerouac wrote:
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”
I have always loved this excerpt and was reminded of it again when reflecting on Larry Haynes, who died on February 9, 2023. He epitomized the extraordinary spirit Kerouac champions to an absolute “T.” For what it’s worth, Larry moved on to the next realm (“The Great Mystery”) doing what he loved, having just come in from a surf at Laniakea, which, to my mind, is worth a lot.
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Larry Haynes was one of those few authentic individuals that can be described as “larger than life,” as well as fearless. He was both. Larry was also a creative visionary who not only imagined what was possible but actualized his vision in ways that basically revolutionized water cinematography. He was at the vanguard of what could be accomplished with a camera in heavy water big waves like no one else. His act will be a hard one to follow.
Larry embodied an overflowing, generous heart and gave everything he had to so many, including myself. He’d just send me clips & photos out of the blue, never asked for or expected anything (except perhaps a team ride together at the Point — we rode hundreds if not thousands of waves together over the past 30 plus years). His pidgin was pretty good too; always cracking jokes and making fun (of me mostly). Bottom line is that Larry loved and excelled at what he did and we all loved him for his exuberance and expertise.
A devoted father and family man, he’d spend hours in the water shooting his daughter Lily and her friends longboard at the Point, just as stoked as he was filming the best surfers in the world at Pipe or giant Waimea and Jaws.
Not just a photographer with a keen eye behind the lens, Larry was, first and last, a full-on soul surfer. He loved surfing as much as anyone ever; and he was good, not to mention extremely competitive! I am grateful to have known Larry and to have had the opportunity to spend so much time with him in the water, mostly at Sunset, a sacred place we both devoted much of our lives to and deeply love.
My heart and condolences go out to his family at this time. To be sure, Larry’s sudden, unexpected passing is a tragedy for his family. No doubt they are devastated and my heart aches for them.
However, I also recognize that Larry lived life – his life – to its absolute fullest. No question there either. Larry was an exemplar of Pure Stoke. He was full throttle from the start to the end, all day, every day, each and every swell: big waves, small waves, no waves. Whatever, whenever, whoever . . . Ready For Go! Can’t say that about too many people.
Larry was the real deal. Boundless energy, endless enthusiasm, positivity, total commitment. He will be missed. Like a shooting star or comet that streams across and lights up the night sky . . . Kerouac’s “mad” genius incarnate.
For years and until rather recently (literally a couple weeks ago), I prodded Larry to make the true North Shore Surf Movie. He had almost 4 decades of deep underground and pro footage, ranging from the early 1990s until the most recent “Backdoor Shootout,” “Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational” and “Pipe Pro.” It’s mind boggling to consider what could be done with all that material of everyone from Junior (Moepono), Dane (Kealoha), Marvin (Foster), Ronnie (Burns) – you name them – to Mason (Ho), Seth (Moniz), Barron (Mamiya), Luke (Shepardson), et al., and everyone and everything in between. Groms to grandads; the good, bad, & ugly.
Larry was there to document it all from the inside (literally parked in the pit) and behind the scenes, on land and in the water. It would be amazing to behold his complete ouvre in all its depth, complexity, nuance, and glory.Indeed, it would be truly Epic.
Larry would just laugh when I got all excited about the historical treasures he had in his back pocket and hard drive(s). But he was too in the present to worry about (or get hung up on) the past. I admired his complete lack of sentimentality in such regard. Zero nostalgia. He simply didn’t have time for it. Larry was 100% NOW! Now and forever. Still yet, I really wish somebody would make that movie through the eyes of Larry Haynes . . . Hana Hou!
A paddle out memorial celebration of Larry’s life will be held at Paumalu (Sunset Beach) on Sunday, February 26, 2023 at 11 a.m.
Huelo Hale, Paumalu
This song reminds me of Larry. We both loved the Beach Boys and Dennis Wilson was the only Beach Boy who actually surfed. Aloha ‘Oe, Larry!
Larry’s filmography is extensive and beyond the scope of this tribute. Suffice to say, he made dozens of his own surf movies (e.g., “Hawaii 9-0,” “Hawaii 9-1,” the “Fluid Combustion” series (I-V)), “The Essence of Surfing,” “Surfwise,” “Highwater,” etc.; was the DOP on major Hollywood films such as “Chasing Mavericks”; and scores of commercials, as well as the principal water cinematographer for the WSL for the past several years.