VIDEO: Hawaii kayak guides return to Kaawaloa after deadly waves

VIDEO: Hawaii kayak guides return to Kaawaloa after deadly waves
Big Island Video News

Letisha Mims and Nolan Keola Reed at Kaawaloa

KAAWALOA, Hawaii: One day after the end of search and rescue operations for 15 year old Tyler Madoff, swept out to sea by large waves at Kaawaloa Lighthouse near Kealakekua Bay, the guides who were with Madoff’s tour group on July 4th return to the scene of the tragedy.

In this video, shot by Matt Binder of Visionary Video, the guides with the local kayak company Hawaii Pack and Paddle, retrace their steps, recalling the frantic moments after the waves hit the tour group.

Letisha Mims, the daughter of owner Bari Mims, and Nolan Keola Reed, also called Ola, remain shaken by the event, but said they do not want to play the blame game. The Colorado based Bold Earth Teen Adventures company, which contracted Hawaii Pack and Paddle to guide the tour group to Kaawaloa, was criticised by Madoffs parents, Michael and Marianne,  during a press conference held in Hawaii on Sunday. But the White Plains, New York couple expressed thanks to Letisha and Ola for their heroic actions that day.

According to news reports, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said that the kayak company’s permit to take kayaks to Kaawaloa did not include the tidal pools where the incident occurred. Hawaii Pack and Paddle has disputed that claim.

VIDEO by Matt Binder, Visionary Video 


  • Theresa

    Thank you both for helping all the kids on that scary afternoon. maybe you can answe rwhy why why were the youth group not wearing vests that afternoon?????????????? in this video you both are wearing vests in very claim waters. it sound like you had to stop to take a rest, why? rough waters that day?????maybe you all should not have been in the ocean that day?

  • christine

    Thank you for saving the other kids lives. You truely are HEROS.
    I live here, and I can’t imagine this expereience ever in my life time. But mother nature is unpredictable.
    The fact that not all of you were lost is a mericule! This was an accident. It could of happened to anyone.
    Thank god that you are okay.
    Anyone reading this and not realizing the shear force of those waves, and that lave is like sharp glass. All the kids are all cut up, everyone could of been lost!
    god rest your soul Tyler, you were an amazing, young man. Your with angels now, rest in peace. May your family find solice in the fact that in your short life you touched many lives. And you were right up until you lost your life were having the time of your life! So sorry for your loss.

  • Justin

    It takes a lot to come forward and not hide behind lawyers, just say what happened. No one is making excuses. What happened will be with everyone for the rest of their lives, and these two people will be wondering if they could have done more forever. I understand the anger about this. Blame needs to be assigned and all that. But it wasn’t carelessness or recklessness that caused the young man to lose his life.

  • Susan Corkran

    I was privileged to be in that very place last year, after kayaking across the bay. At age 64, it was an amazing experience. My heart is with all involved. I too lost a teenage son in an accident of nature many years ago now. I have tried to live a life that honors him. There is much we don’t understand. We understand love. Prayers and love to all the kids and to Tyler’s family.

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, you weren’t holding like five kids, you were only holding two until another surge hit and one fell out of your grasp. She held onto the kid you were holding and you let go to get somebody else and the other two got up onto land with the help of bold earth. They were saving the lives too,not just you two. Andy and Kelsey did a lot and weren’t sitting by the woods doing nothing. They were by the tide pools trying to get the others out of the water. And Letisha, you only helped like 3 kids and one was a boy. I saw. Matthew was over by you two on the edge of the cliff where you said you were holding “everybody” excactly where Tyler fell off too. Bold Earth never knew about the surges. If they did, they would have never had taken us there. You never mentioned it and only warned us not to go to the vert edge, but let us go close. We werent wearing life Jackets on land because first of all,we were on land and went for a hike in the hot weather. Second, we just went snorkeling and had lunch. We wore the life jackets when we were kayaking in the water though. HPP never had a permit to go to that area of land and had no right to even step foot at those cliffs. Bold Earth was never familiar with those areas, so HPP was leading us. Just pointing out the differences from reality of an eye wittness towards your story.

  • Seaman

    In Hawaii, if the ocean is rough, one must be wise enough that it can get rougher. Do you see the white sand that is displaced by the trees in the background?? Ever wondered how it got there? It is because of large surf! Seamen must know where the potential of the high-water mark is and be aware of that waves can rise to that particular location. Know the Aina and the Moana!

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