Jimmy Hall, owner of Hawaii Shark Encounters on the North Shore, is shown here swimming with a shark. Hall died Wednesday while filming a documentary near Greenland. CLICK FOR LARGE
Oahu man filled life with thrills
Jimmy Hall / Adventure Business Owner
Local businessman and thrill-seeker Jimmy Hall died doing what he wanted to do -- this time, exploring territory uncharted to him, his friend and agent said.
In a 2004 interview with CNN, Hall outlined his philosophy: that work's purpose is to pay for fun.
"You're not going to be lying on your deathbed going, 'Gee, I wish I'd worked more,'" Hall said. "I'd rather blow up than rust. I ain't going to fade away or anything."
Hall, who owned Hawaii Shark Encounters on the North Shore, was in an isolated area on Baffin Island, north of the Arctic Circle near Greenland, doing a documentary with two members of his crew when he died Wednesday.
At about 3 p.m. Hawaii time, Hall "base jumped" from a cliff with a parachute and either got blown back onto the mountain or died during the landing, said his agent, Micah Johnson.
"He loved extreme adventure, and this was something he hadn't conquered yet," Johnson said from Scottsdale, Ariz.
Hall's body was turned over to police in Canada yesterday, and arrangements were being made for him to be returned to Hawaii. Johnson said it was difficult to communicate with Hall's crew, since the area is accessible only by dogsled or snowmobile, and they were equipped only with a satellite phone.
Hall drew national attention in 2005 when he left his shark cage unarmed to film and touch a great white shark. Hall's recording is believed to be the first film of a great white in Hawaii waters.
The 41-year-old spent most of his life on the North Shore. He once set sail from Hawaii in a 30-foot sloop, traveling for six years and 14,000 miles through the Pacific and Southeast Asia.
Hall had recently been selected to be the host of Discovery Channel's "Shark Week." Johnson said Hall already filmed half of the production in the Bahamas, and was set to film the rest next week by Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
"Because of his new relationship with Discovery, he was hoping to use this trip to put together something for them," Johnson said.
MediaStars International had set up a tribute Web site for Hall, with pictures of Hall swimming with sharks, climbing up an erupting volcano and skydiving.
The future of the business is up in the air at this point, since Hall's staff and girlfriend are still in shock, Johnson said.
"Jimmy's love for Hawaii is second to none," Johnson said. "He was certainly a huge proponent for the ocean. It's a sad day for Hawaii. He was one of the good guys."
Johnson said at least Hall died while living his philosophy, articulated in his interview with CNN: "Spend as much time as you got to working to finance your fun. You got to do what you got to do to make it happen. So work hard, play hard and live."