Surfing world mourns death of Hawaii-born Shimooka

  • John Shimooka

The global surfing community is mourning the death of former world tour surfer John Shimooka.

Shimooka, originally from Hawaii and affectionately called “Shmoo,” died early Monday, according to a statement from Surfing NSW.

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“A talented former world tour surfer, commentator, jiu-jitsu black belt and General Manager of Partnerships for Surfing NSW since 2018, ‘Shmoo’ was a much-loved member of the global surfing community and the Surfing NSW family, ” the organization said in a statement. “He will be remembered for his passion for the lifestyle as well as his energy and enthusiasm.”

Shimooka turned 51 on Nov. 9.

A cause of death has not been disclosed.

A 1987 graduate of Roosevelt High School on Oahu, Shimooka competed in the World Championship Tour from the 1980s to the late 1990s.

In a statement, the World Surf League said, “A former CT (Championship Tour) surfer, industry executive, commentator and coach, he made a major impact on the surfing world. Our hearts are with his family and friends.”

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Many in the surfing community turned to social media to pay tribute to Shimooka.

On Instagram, 11-time World Surf League champion Kelly Slater said, “My heart’s ripped out. I’m sorry, Shmoo. I thought we had this.”

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