Friends revered Sion Milosky as one of the greatest big-wave surfers in the world who had a "go for it" attitude.
"He got tons of respect from the world’s well-known surfers," said friend Evan Valiere.
Milosky, 35, a native of Kalaheo, Kauai, died Wednesday after he fell off a monstrous wave while surfing at Maverick’s, a surf spot off Half Moon Bay, Calif., according to the San Jose Mercury News website.
The cause of death is pending, according to the San Mateo County coroner’s office.
At about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Milosky caught about six waves before he ran into trouble. He fell when the lip of a large wave he caught pummelled him into the ocean, surfer and friend Ken Collins told the Mercury News. Another wave rolled in, holding him underwater.
A search ensued after he failed to surface. Twenty minutes later, friend Nathan Fletcher found Milosky’s body at the mouth of Pillar Point Harbor, about a mile from Maverick’s, according to the Mercury News. Fletcher traveled with Milosky to California to surf Maverick’s.
Milosky was wearing a flotation device.
Hawaii surfer Mark Foo died at Maverick’s in 1994.
Milosky lived at Rocky Point on the North Shore of Oahu and owned a welding business called Custom Gates Hawaii.
Friends said he had a pure passion for surfing and love for his family. He was a humble man who put his family first and surfing second, said surfer James Sterling. He further described him as someone who would go out of his way to help others.
"It’s just a total loss for the surfing community," said Sterling.
In January 2010, Milosky, a goofy-footed surfer — meaning right foot forward — won the North Shore Big Wave Challenge after he caught a wave believed to be the biggest any surfer has ever paddled into in Hawaii history, according to Valiere.
Volcom and Vans Triple Crown of Surfing have set up two separate donation funds to help family members of surfer Sion Milosky who died Wednesday. Donations for Vans’ memorial fund can be made at any Bank of Hawaii branch. Donations to Volcom’s fund can be made at www.volcom.com.
The wave was estimated at 35 feet Hawaii style, measured from the back of the wave. Photographer and friend Daniel Russo said.
"Up until that point, that was nearly impossible for anyone to paddle into. Those type of waves, those swells don’t happen very often."
Soon after, Milosky’s surfing career took off. In December he won the Vans Underground Triple Crown Challenge, receiving $25,000.
Some of his winnings went to finance his recent trip to California to surf Maverick’s, his second time at the surf spot. His first was last November with a group of friends." We had an amazing time. The waves were really great. He instantly fell in love with the location," said Russo.
Friend Danny Fuller said, " I loved him like a brother. He was the best father and inspiration to his friends."
He was the most well-rounded, all-around good guy, he added. " I was fortunate to be his friend."
Milosky is survived by his wife and two young daughters. Services are pending.