Vale John Shimooka (1969-2020)
Yesterday, the surfing world was shaken by the news that John Shimooka, the Hawaiian cum Australian, and former world number 19, had passed away.
No details are yet forthcoming, however Shmoo had been candid on social media about his battles, particularly since losing wife Lisa late last year and the attempted suicide of good friend Sunny Garcia.
Originally from Oahu's South Shore, Shmoo made a name for himself as a party boy during pro surfing's heady days of the early-nineties. Like many of his then-peers, he was pushed to the wayside when the CT/QS division introduced a new professional ethos, however Shmoo had never done his talent justice.
In the mid-nineties, on the insistence of Garcia, he gave pro surfing another crack and re-entered the CT, reaching his highest position of 19th, including a Bells final appearance with Garcia.
During the back half of the nineties he placed in the mid-ranks of the CT, though also won two QS events in '98 and '99 which is when he retired from pro surfing and moved to Australia with wife Lisa, beginning a new chapter in surf administration.
It was here that Shmoo's peppy nature blossomed; in front of the camera, behind the microphone, or cutting deals on behalf of surfers he managed, he was buoyed by the company of other people.
Lisa's death and Sunny's attempted suicide were twin blows for Shmoo, and his foundations faltered, though he also shared his feelings on social media.
John Shimooka is survived by son Brandon.
If you need help:
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
- Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800