and Star-Advertiser staff
POSTED: 12:46 p.m. HST, Mar 17, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 01:27 p.m. HST, Mar 17, 2011
MOSS BEACH, Calif. >> Kauai surfer Sion Milosky died Wednesday evening while negotiating the legendary Maverick's big-wave break off Half Moon Bay, the Associated Press reported.
Milosky, 35, died in the same area that claimed another noted Hawaii surfer, Mark Foo, who drowned in 1994.
Milosky, from Kalaheo, Kauai, had been living in Haleiwa where he had a welding business. He is survived by a wife and two young daughters.
A San Mateo County coroner is to determine the cause of death, SFGate.com reported.
Milosky was named the North Shore Underground Surfer of the Year last month and reportedly used some of the prize of $25,000 in travel funds to fly to Santa Cruz, Calif., Sunday to catch some of the final big swells of the season.
The waves at Maverick's are said to be the product of Arctic storms that send swells down the coast of California until they collide with the reef at Pillar Point off Half Moon Bay. A layered reef launches the swells causing the huge waves.
Waves were described as measuring 25-to-40 feet late Wednesday in "sloppy" conditions.
The period for the annual Maverick's Big Wave Contest closed last month without being held.
Milosky was said to have caught at least a half dozen waves before witnesses said a wave collapsed on him.
"Sion was dominating it; he was out there catching so many waves," surfer Ken Collins told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. "He was so good."
Collins said the lip of a wave Milosky was riding collapsed around 6:30 p.m. when his board went straight to the bottom and he was caught in a two-wave hold down. Friends went looking for Milosky and the Sentinel reported one of them, Nathan Fletcher, found his body floating about a mile from the break at the entrance to Pillar Point Harbor.
Felton Fire Capt. Loree Borelli told the Sentinel rescue crews responded to a report of a possible drowning around 6:51 p.m. and transported the patient to Seton Coastside Hospital in Moss Beach.
In January, southern California surfer, Jacob Trette, was found unconscious after a fall at Mavericks and hospitalized in a coma. He recovered.