LIHUE, Hawaii — Two California men who drowned off Kauai were best friends who shared a love of music, were attracted to the water and often took trips together, according to loved ones remembering Brian Baker and Adam Griffiths.
The two men from the San Francisco Bay Area were exploring the rocky coast of Hawaii's Kauai island on Friday with several friends when a rogue wave knocked down Baker, 47, and dragged him out to sea. He was swept into the water off South Kalihiwai Point.
Griffiths, 46, jumped into the choppy waters to save his friend but also drowned. Griffiths' body was found Saturday.
On Monday, the Kauai Fire Department conducted aerial searches for Baker's body. Fire personnel also were positioned along the coastline, but the search was unsuccessful.
Officials said Tuesday that after three days of looking they were suspending the search because of extremely hazardous ocean conditions. Kauai remained under a high surf warning for north- and west-facing shores until 6 p.m.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle (http://is.gd/qlI0qu ), the two were inseparable comrades since they met through mutual friends several years ago. Baker lived in Vallejo and was a dedicated triathlete who played the guitar, piano, didgeridoo and percussion instruments. He used those skills in his work as a music therapist for children with special needs.
"He was a master at getting them to open up and feel comfortable about themselves," said his friend Fred Burks, 54, of Berkeley. "Brian was one of the most amazing people I ever knew, just being open to people and connecting with them, the way he could just disarm them and open up. He had the biggest heart of almost anybody that you'll ever meet."
Griffiths, a native of Australia, lived in San Francisco and was a manager for a mobile-app company. He had gone to Hawaii with his fiancee, 39-year-old Jennifer Kwong of San Francisco, who witnessed the tragedy.
Kwong and Griffiths had been together for about six years and had tentative plans to be married in September.
She said her fiance was smart and played the guitar very well. He also was good at engaging strangers in conversation in social settings, Kwong said. He would say, "We're all in the same space," she said. "Why shouldn't we say hi to each other?"