County officials have identified 53-year-old Kenneth Doudt as the surfer who drowned Saturday across from the Lawai Beach Resort in Koloa.
The Koloa resident was an avid surfer who survived a great white shark attack at the age of 26 off the coast of Oregon and lived to write a book about it.
According to Nukumoi Surf Co. manager Miguel Graham, a family friend for more than 20 years, Doudt will be missed.
“Kenny was a good guy, a good surfer, a good father and a good friend,” Graham said yesterday.
According to Graham, Doudt and a few other guys were surfing at Centers Beach at about 1:45 p.m. The last he was seen, Doudt had caught a wave, surfed it and paddled back out. Graham said he and others are unsure what happened next.
Doudt was found floating face down at about 2:45 p.m., according to a police department press release.
By the time three surfers had paddled him to shore, paramedics were already on the scene. Shortly thereafter, around 3 p.m., Doudt was pronounced dead at Wilcox Memorial Hospital.
According to Graham, who was at the scene, Doudt did not appear to have any head trauma and he doesn’t believe the cause of death had to do with the surf.
“The waves were small that day,” he said. “He died of something else, we just don’t know yet.”
According to county Public Information Officer Mary Daubert, deaths that occur in the water are designated as drownings. More information on the circumstances surrounding the incident was not available by press time.
The drowning marks the fifth of the year on Kaua‘i. A near-drowning late last week at the same beach where Doudt was found was reported by The Garden Island on Saturday. In that incident a female snorkeler was rescued by a nearby swimmer.
Graham said Doudt is survived by his three sons, ages 30, 28 and 17. Two of the sons — Justin Doudt and Jeremy “Skiz” Doudt, who Graham described as one of Kaua‘i’s top surfers — live on-island. Jeremy Doudt did not want to comment yesterday.
A memorial service will take place at a later date, and a surfer’s paddle is being planned for sometime this week.
Graham said he will remember Doudt for his carefree attitude about life.
“He’s going to be missed by a lot of people,” Graham said. “He’s a piece of the puzzle where we hang out and now a big piece of the puzzle will be missing.”