A picturesque vacation in Hawaii took a solemn turn as 25 year-old Matthew Preziose (of Middletown, New Jersey) was suddenly swept out to sea while swimming over the weekend. Matthew was enjoying the island destination with his boyfriend Nick, described in an online fundraiser as “the love of his life”. While rescuers initially were called to Lumaha’i Beach for “two swimmers in distress” (according to a Kaua’i Police Department news release), the release went on to say that “bystanders reported that one swimmer made it safely to shore while the second swimmer, Preziose, was last seen being swept out to sea”. Three days after Preziose went missing, the active search efforts were suspended and Matthew was never found.
Matt’s boyfriend Nick Slawinski spoke exclusively to Daily Voice and said that in his final moments, it was his beloved family that was on Matt’s mind, as in part, he said “I love my family. I don’t want to die” as he battled the notoriously strong waves and currents of the dangerous strip of beach commonly known as “Lumadie” by locals. Residents commonly hang signs with warnings like “No Lifeguards,” “Giant Waves,” “Riptides,” and “Strong Currents”. Slawinski heartbreakingly revealed the details of Matt’s final moments as Slawinski (himself a former lifeguard) desperately tried to bring Matt back to shore, first encouraging him to swim sideways toward him, before bravely diving into the water himself in an effort to save his partner.
A Change.org petition suggests though, that Matthew’s loss may bring some truly positive (and much-needed) change to Lumaha’i Beach. The petition suggests that while the signs may offer pause to some, Google actually encourages visitors to the dangerous beach, ranking it as one of the “best places to swim”, and the county of Kauai actually tears warning signs down. The petition’s intent is to, at least in part, “to demand official warning signs be posted on the beach of Lumaha’i warning others to avoid swimming in the dangerous waters”.
To donate to The Matthew Preziose Fund click here