(Reuters) - Big-wave surfer Sion Milosky has been killed
in a wipeout off the northern California coast, stunning the close-knit
big-wave surfing community.
The Hawaiian-born Milosky, 35, died on Wednesday evening, apparently
drowning after he was dragged under by a wave he was riding at the famed
Mavericks surf break, south of San Francisco.
"He didn't really make a mistake, he just took off on a wave, it caught
him like an avalanche and he was down and just never really came up,"
big-wave surfing great Peter Mel told Reuters in an interview from
Mavericks, where Milosky's wife, friends and fellow surfers had gathered
on the beach for an impromptu memorial.
Mel said Milosky, who had recently joined the ranks of elite big-wave
surfers in part because of his fearlessness, had been surfing Mavericks
since Monday and "was completely dominating, like a true veteran" before
"We're all really, really good friends so yeah, it hits to the core,"
Mel said. "We've lost a family member and it feels that way."
After Milosky was pulled from the water he was treated by paramedics at
the scene and arrived at Seaton Coastside medical center in nearby Moss
Beach in full cardiac arrest, a spokeswoman for the hospital said.
"The EMT people tried to revive him for 45 minutes before they brought
him into our facility. Our team tried to resuscitate for 15 minutes and
were unable to revive him," Seacoast spokeswoman Beth Volz said.
The San Mateo County Coroner's office said an autopsy would be conducted
in coming days to determine the official cause of death for Milosky,
who is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Mavericks, named for a dog who joined early surfers in the water, is a
celebrated but hazardous surf spot just north of Half Moon Bay famed for
waves topping out at over 80 feet.
Professional surfer Mark Foo was killed at Mavericks during huge swells on December 23, 1994.
"It's with a very heavy heart that we bid farewell to Hawaiian family
man and big wave surfer Sion Milosky," his sponsor, Volcom, said in a
statement on its website. "Words cannot begin to describe how saddened
we are by this loss."
Jack Morrissey, Volcom surf team manager, said the company was setting
up foundation for Sion's daughters, with information posted on the
company's website, Volcom.com.
"Sion's first passion was his wife and kids and surfing giant waves was
his second. Never before had we seen such an amazing surge of coverage
from any surfer in a period of less than two years," the company said in