Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023 |
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LIHU‘E — The death of Sion Milosky Wednesday was a shock to many in the surf community, as well as the Kaua‘i community where Milosky called home for so many years.
Milosky, 35, died at the end of a surf session at Maverick’s in Northern California, Wednesday evening. He reportedly lost his board and was held under a pair of waves, without resurfacing until a friend with a Jet Ski located him approximately 20 minutes later
He was transported from the scene and taken to Seton Coastside Hospital in Moss Beach, where he was pronounced dead.
The San Mateo County medical examiner’s office was reached at 2:30 a.m. local time, Thursday morning, and indicated that the matter was still pending investigation. However, they did verify Milosky as the deceased.
The office originally said a cause of death would likely be available Thursday afternoon, around 1 or 2 p.m. local time, unless further information was necessary via toxicology or other medical testing. However, when contacted Thursday, a spokesperson said it was still pending investigation and further details were only being released to the family.
A Kalaheo native, Milosky was a classmate of Hawai‘i News Now anchor Keahi Tucker at Waimea High School. Reached for comment, Tucker said that the two were both members of the swim team for a short while before Milosky focused his attention on surfing full-time. Milosky later became a professional longboarder.
The two remained friends as each took residence on O‘ahu.
“These days I’m actually his landlord,” said Tucker in an email, Wednesday. “He and his family have been living in my rental house on the North Shore.”
Milosky is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Tucker told what he said was his favorite story about Milosky, which occurred just a couple months ago. A woman out for swim near his house at Rocky Point was swept out to sea after sundown. Instead of waiting for the fire crew to respond, Milosky grabbed his longboard and “without saying a word paddled out in the pitch black in big surf.”
He said that after 45 minutes of searching and yelling for the woman, he finally found her alive in the water.
“He pulled her onto his board and paddled her in saving her life,” Tucker wrote. “She never said thank you. The story never made the news. He never got an award. Sion had no need for recognition.”
Kaua‘i pro surfer Roy Powers went to his Twitter page after hearing the news, writing “A true waterman and one of the best fathers I’ve every seen!!! God bless u and your family ! Rip Sion!”
Kelly Slater tweeted “Sion Milosky one of the world’s heaviest chargers drowned at Mavericks today.My condolences to his family and our surfing brothers.RIP buddy.”
Kekoa Bacalso wrote “R.I.P. sion!!! Cool humble mad dog that will forever be missed!! ALOHA SION!!”
Fellow North Shore rider Mark Healey, a professional big-wave surfer, posted a photo on his Twitter feed Thursday, which shows some flowers standing near the shore, with the words “Love ya buddy, see u soon” written in the wet sand.
On Thursday, Vans made a statement about his death and announced a memorial fund it has established.
“The entire Vans family is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Sion Milosky yesterday,” states the release. “Sion had recently become an active member of the Vans surf team with a terrific season on the North Shore this winter. More importantly, he was a loving husband and a wonderful father to two young daughters.
“In December, Sion won $25,000 through the Vans and Surfing Magazine North Shore Underground program with the intention of financing future surf trips. Vans will contribute the entire amount to a special memorial fund that has been established to assist Milosky’s wife and children.”
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the fund can do so at any Bank of Hawai‘i branch by requesting the contribution go to “The Sion Milosky Memorial Fund.”
Milosky was in California and staying with fellow Maverick’s surfer Ken Collins. The conditions provided a swell that brought him out to charge the famous location. Watchers and other surfers said that he had been getting big rides for most of the day and elected to try for one more around 6:30 p.m., when his fatal encounter occurred.
The last drowning at Maverick’s was legendary Mark Foo, a fellow Hawaiian big-wave surfer, who died at the San Mateo County spot on Dec. 23, 1994.
The site is home to an annual contest that draws many of the great big-wavers in the world, its inaugural competition in 1999. It does not run every year, with conditions determining whether the contest is a go.
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