Bodyboarder and bodysurfer Marcus Biju, a well-respected member of North Shore’s surfing community, has died after being pulled from the water next to Pipeline while unresponsive Thursday morning.
Around 7:30am, French surfer Batiste Gaud, 18, was about to paddle out for a surf when he saw Biju’s bodyboard floating down the beach on the inside sandbar just past Pipeline’s left. Gaud could tell there was a person attached to the bodyboard underwater by the way it was floating, and noticed the person wasn’t coming up for air. Gaud immediately sprinted down the beach, past a woman screaming for help, and paddled out toward Biju.
“By the time I got to the dude, I had to dive down in the water to get him,” Gaud told SURFER. “After I got on the dude I gave him some breaths. We were getting kind of pounded on the sandbar that’s just next to Pipe and we were in the rip. My board was getting knocked around and we couldn’t get anywhere.”
Gaud let his surfboard go and ripped unresponsive Biju’s fins off of his feet, put them on his own and was able to battle the strong current, all while getting pounded, to bring Biju to shore, where paramedics were waiting.
Biju was transported to Kahuku Medical Center in critical condition. He later died at the hospital.
The incident happened before lifeguards were on duty.
Gaud told SURFER that he passed all of his lifeguarding tests in France last last year and worked as a lifeguard over the summer at his home break, Hossegor. “I think training and knowing how to react is super important in situations like this,” Gaud said. “Unfortunately, this time it didn’t work out.”
Gaud believes it was a head injury that caused Biju’s unresponsive state.
Hawaii News Now reported the following about Biju’s tragic passing:
"Just to lose a friend like that, out of the blue, is just something that nobody's ready for it," said Guilherme Tamega, a friend of Biju's and a world bodyboarding champ. "He was always smiling and spreads the aloha all over the island wherever he goes."
Above is a clip of Biju getting barreled at Pipeline in 2017. SURFER’s thoughts are with the friends and family of Biju at this time.