Jon Mozo was hospitalized in 1993 after a shark bit him while he was surfing near Goat Island on Oahu's North Shore.

Fellow photographers
describe ocean’s risks

Jon Mozo died while taking
surf pictures on the North Shore

Surfing photographer Mike Latronic chatted with friend and fellow photographer Jon Mozo while the two were in the water off Ehukai Beach Park shooting surf pictures.

A little while later, Latronic was on shore to take more photos and learned that Mozo had died in the waves.

"I was sitting on the beach, the waves were firing but I couldn't take another picture," said Latronic, a surfing magazine publisher and television show producer.

A group of bodyboarders noticed something underwater at the break known as Ehukai Sandbar about 2 p.m. Wednesday and waved their arms to get the attention of city lifeguards, said Jim Howe, city ocean safety operations chief. An off-duty lifeguard who was surfing nearby dived under the water and retrieved Mozo.

The off-duty lifeguard and the two on-duty lifeguards took Mozo to shore and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until a city ambulance crew arrived. Mozo was taken to Kahuku Hospital in extremely critical condition where he later died.

The Honolulu medical examiner said Mozo, 33, drowned due to head injuries.

Mozo has a gallery in Hauula and did commercial, fashion, wedding and ocean photography. He is survived by a wife and four children. Latronic said Mozo was also a freelance surf photographer whose work appeared in his magazine Board Stories, which later became Free Surf Magazine.

In 1993, Mozo was surfing near Goat Island on Oahu's North Shore when a shark bit him on the foot. It took 100 stitches to close his wound.

Larry Haynes was also in the water off Ehukai Beach Park on Wednesday taking surfing pictures. He said the waves were not huge, in the 5- to 8-foot range, but they had power. Latronic described the waves as dangerous because of the shallow reef.

Haynes said Mozo was not wearing a helmet. Haynes and Latronic both said they wore helmets Wednesday. Haynes said he does not always wear his helmet while shooting surf photos.

But, he added, "I will definitely wear my helmet from now on."

A year ago, Haynes said organizers of a surf meet at Ehukai stopped him from entering the water to take pictures because he was not wearing a helmet. He was allowed to enter after putting on a helmet. He said a wave later slammed him on the reef, breaking the helmet in three places.

"If I didn't have a helmet, I'd have been gone," Haynes said.

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