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.


“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.”


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.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email