While we battle to get a handle on the mega tragedy in Japan, this news of a single death in the worldwide surfing family still really hurts.
Sion Milosky, Hawaiian big-wave super-charger, husband and father of two young daughters, and a man flying high on a well-deserved upward trajectory in the surfing world, died last night while surfing Mavericks.
Sion had hopped over from Hawaii to surf the giant late-season swell that’s been hitting North Pacific shores in recent days. Mavericks is a wave that he’d recently begun to dedicate solid time to and he’d instantly become a stand-out charger in a pack of stand-outs. Sion is originally from Kauai but is well known on Oahu as a top-rated ‘underground’ big-wave man for his antics at Pipe, Waimea and outer reefs like Phantoms.
This is some footage of Sion at Mavs yesterday. He’s the goofy-footer, with Nic Lamb the regular-footer on the inside. We haven’t been able to confirm that this ride was his last. We’ll let you know where it fits in as soon as we can.
The tragedy is all the more poignant because, after years of riding big waves just for the love of it, Sion had begun to get some serious recognition – not from his peers, who have respected him for a long time – but from the surf industry. Thanks to some recent sponsorship and one-off windfalls, he’d finally been able to spend less time on his metal-welding day-job and more on his real passion, big-wave surfing. The money he was earning would finally enable him to break out of the North Shore underground and surf big wave spots around the world that he’d always dreamed of. Waves like Mavericks.
Last year he signed on with Volcom, which freed him up to surf more, and this year, Surfing Magazine and Vans announced him the winner of their $25,000 North Shore Underground project. “His big wave act is proven; his potential is vast. Sion’s come a long way already,making something out of nothing but his own grit and passion … ” said Surfing magazine’s recent Hawaii issue.
It’s tragic that Sion’s rising star has been put out so early, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.
Here’s a little tribute film just made by friend and North Shore film-maker Pete Hodgson:
And here’s another offering some insight into Sion’s character and attitude to the whole big wave thing, made by his friend Hank: