“We are obsessed with excellence. Since 1976, Bold Earth Teen Adventures has focused on leadership and teamwork in a supportive environment which has included 14,000+ teenagers on six continents.”
On Independence Day 2012, this thirty-six-year unchallenged record of “leadership and teamwork in a supportive environment” came to a tragic end.
It occurred during their traditional “Ultimate Hawaii” expedition.
“The Ultimate Hawaii is a challenging 21 day camping adventure in paradise!: Sailing, surfing, water sports, a service project/cultural exchange, sea kayaking, backpacking and biking all on Hawaii’s breathtaking Big Island.”
However, the breathtaking beauty of Big Island changed to a raging fury according to Greg Morrison of CNN:
“A day of kayaking and backpacking on Hawaii’s Big Island changed in an instant as the might of the Pacific Ocean swept six (of 12) teenagers into the surf.”
The group of 12 students and their guides were on their way to a waterfall. They had stopped for a break “When rogue waves hit.”
“The waves were totally unexpected,” according to Abbott Wallis. Mr. Wallis is founder and Executive Director of Bold Earth Teen Adventures.
Another witness stated that “The surf sucked two of the teenagers into the sea and left four others clinging for their lives along the cliff and rocky shoals”
Bari Sims of Hawaii Pack and Paddle reported how kayak guides “Immediately dived into the water at risk to their own lives” and recused five of the students.
Unfortunately, 15-year-old Tyler Madoff of White Plains, New York was not one of the survivors. Despite massive search efforts, Tyler continues to be lost at sea.
In a public statement, Mr. Abbott Wallis expressed his deep sense of empathy with all of the parents whose children were part of this terrible tragedy; especially Mr. and Mrs. Madoff who suffered the greatest loss:
“I can’t convey my shock and sorrow.” “We’re doing all we can to support the families and students. As a parent myself, I can only imagine what the families are feeling right now.”