COURTESY NAKAMATSU FAMILY
Garrett Nakamatsu, left, Tricia Nakamatsu are with their father Alan Nakamatsu at a restaurant. Alan Nakamatsu drowned after fishing at China Walls off Portlock in Hawaii Kai on Tuesday.
Children call father's love a true cast
The grown kids of a fisherman who died off Portlock reflect on his devotion to them
Twenty-eight-year-old Tricia Nakamatsu regrets passing up her father's repeated invitations to go fishing with him.
"I always wanted to, but I never got the chance," she said, her voice breaking.
Alan Yoshihiro Nakamatsu, 58, died after being swept into the ocean Tuesday morning near the China Walls surf spot off Portlock in Hawaii Kai.
A semi-retired insurance broker, Nakamatsu of Kalihi was an avid fisherman who would go fishing with his best friend every Tuesday at different spots around the island. He often invited Tricia and her brother Garrett, 26, to go along. But she said last night that she had not gone fishing with him since she was a child.
"He was a pretty experienced fisherman," she said.
Garrett Nakamatsu recalled his father talking about catching fish at Portlock, one of his favorite spots.
Alan Nakamatsu's longtime friend and fishing partner witnessed him falling and tried to rescue him, Tricia Nakamatsu said. The friend threw a float out to him as soon as he realized he had gone over, she said.
"My dad missed it the first time and the friend tried again, tripped and fell and hit his head and got back up again and tried to throw it again," she said.
Fire Capt. Terry Seelig said surfers pulled Nakamatsu from the water and brought him onto the rocks and tried to resuscitate him.
He was in critical condition when he was taken to the Queen's Medical Center, where he died. The Medical Examiner's Office said the cause of death was drowning.
Nakamatsu said her father called her recently upon her return from a long trip, inviting her to share a big fish that he caught and was cooking, but she got the message too late.
She says her father was in good health before the accident.
"We have to accept that he died doing something that he loved," she said.
Garrett Nakamatsu said his dad was "so enthusiastic (about) going fishing with his friends, the actual fishing and eating the fish after they catch it."
Tricia Nakamatsu said her father worked hard all his life to support his family, sending his children to good schools.
He was an associate manager at Woolworth's in Waikiki for more than 20 years until it shut down in 1997, before spending the past five years in insurance. His best friend and fishing buddy worked with him at Woolworth's since the days when they were stock boys.
When the Nakamatsu children were younger, their father awoke at 5 a.m. each day, made them breakfast, and drove them to school. Tricia Nakamatsu recalls how he often took her and her brother hiking and when they were very young took them fishing with bamboo poles.
"He's only been gone a day, and we miss him terribly," she said.