The Story Behind the MANA Series

August 08 2019 0

Friends and family gather for Mana's swim-out

We offer a limited-edition series of select Bomber styles, featuring tribal designs and the Hawaiian Iwa bird on the frames. The MANA Series is inspired by a dear friend and stunning photographer named Jeff Walthall, known to his friends as "Mana." 

In October of 2015, Mana passed away unexpectedly while surfing in Makaha. His passing shocked the Hawaiian surfing community and many of our friends and colleagues. But his memory lives on in his stunning photography, the stories his friends still tell, and tributes like our Mana series. 

"He was a beautiful soul filled with the welcoming 'aloha spirit' the Hawaiian islands are known for," we wrote in 2015. "Be it in the water or out, he was sure to lend a helping hand. He always paddled out with a wealth of knowledge ready to share it with the world and would swim in with trash other beach goers left behind. He really was one of a kind, and will forever be remembered as a legend." 

On October 24, 2015, Mana's friends, family, and supporters gathered at Makaha Beach for a celebration of his life and a memorial swim-out. The hashtag #feeltheMana circulated on social media, drawing attention to a GoFundMe campaign opened to support his family. 

Together, Mana's friends and family found ways to honor his memory. His photography remains some of the most breathtaking work we've seen. His effortless capture of Hawaii's wildlife, waters, and surfing community embodies the spirit of those incredible islands. 

Mana's last moments were spent doing what he loved -- riding the waves at Makaha Beach.

“You know, when he came up, he kind of just… Something happened and that was his last wave,” Dave Kuwada, Walthall’s cousin, told ABC news. “It was like a storybook finish in a way. I mean, I couldn’t imagine a better way to depart this world. You know, it’s sad, but he went out like a hero.”

Although he rode his last wave and took his last pictures in 2015, his photos and his spirit live on today. 

After the GoFundMe campaign closed, the team at Bomber Eyewear and many of Mana's friends wanted to ensure his family remained supported over the years. To that end, we connected with Aaron Kwan, a Hawaiian tattoo artist and one of Mana's close friends. Together, we created the MANA Series of Bomber Eyewear: our traditional Bomber frames and lenses with an elegant tribal design. The pattern includes a symbolic frigate bird, the Hawaiian Iwa that appears in many Hawaiian folktales. 

The saying "Lele ka ‘iwa, māile kai ko‘o" translates to "When the 'iwa flies out to sea, the rough sea will be calm." This saying encompasses Mana's personality: wherever he went, rough seas calmed, tranquility spread, and everyone he met enjoyed his wonderful, welcoming personality. 

We released the limited-edition MANA Series of Bomber Eyewear in 2016 to preserve his legacy. Today, we are proud to announce the addition of four new styles in the MANA Series. When you purchase this limited-edition eyewear today, a portion of the proceeds still goes directly to Mana's family. Together, we take care of the people he cared about most, and ensure his memory is uplifted and celebrated. 

We are honored to have met Mana, and know that his spirit lives on in his family and friends today. 

Aloha 'Oe, Mana.