Vale John Shimooka (1969-2020)

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

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

Comments

tyzee63's picture
tyzee63's picture
tyzee63 commented Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 11:25am

so sad, RIP

iamlegend's picture
iamlegend's picture
iamlegend commented Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 11:36am

that's really sad. He always sounded bubbly and full of life when commentating.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 11:37am

Met Shmoo a few times, and he was always a lovely, affable guy. Really sorry to hear what he's gone through over the last few years. RIP mate.

Hall of Lame's picture
Hall of Lame's picture
Hall of Lame commented Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 11:40am

So sad.
Occasionally listened to his commentary on some of the Australian contests. Lots of fun comments and he never seemed to take the whole pro surfing thing as being a truly serious endeavour. Seemed like he had embraced an irreverent approach to life with a distinctively Australian bent.
Vale

andy-mac's picture
andy-mac's picture
andy-mac commented Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 12:00pm

Very sad. RIP.....

Botak

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 12:33pm

What can you say? Some on the surface appear so happy and outgoing while harbouring the darkest of thoughts on the inside. Too young.

RIP.

1173

Fatso's picture
Fatso's picture
Fatso commented Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 12:55pm

Another reminder...don't go it alone people. RIP Shmoo...very sad

Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous's picture
Ape Anonymous commented Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 1:19pm

Thoughts go out to his son
Heavy
RIP

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 5:10pm

Terrible news and he had the best line in pro surfing: "Never let a contest get in the way of a good party" or words to that effect.

Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy's picture
Jamyardy commented Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 6:53pm

Big loss, RIP

Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython's picture
Tim Bonython commented Tuesday, 17 Nov 2020 at 8:44pm

A true great ambassador of the sport both in the past and now. So sad to hear a man that shared his happiness so much to pass away so young. RIP

sc1southern's picture
sc1southern's picture
sc1southern commented Wednesday, 18 Nov 2020 at 6:28am

It has never been more important to check in on people and keep the contact with those you feel may be slipping. As Zenagain said you never truly know what someone is harbouring internally, although they may seem completely together and getting on with life the demons within tell a different story that is usually never apparent until it’s too late. I was completely taken aback to hear the sad news of his passing and it has made me once again realise that this life we have is so precious but also so short in circumstances and that we need to talk to our friends and family if shit ain’t roses and rainbows or the dark forces that lurk in the shadows will consume the ones that are vulnerable. Condolences to his family and friends and most of all to his son, RIP Shimooka you will be missed by more than you ever truly knew.

regydogy's picture
regydogy's picture
regydogy commented Wednesday, 18 Nov 2020 at 10:27am

very sad news , i grew up with lisa and her brother jason who passed away as well the other year . a real heavy blow to both sides of the famleys , i meet shmoo on occasions , last was at lisas brothers funeral . i never forget one day surfing with shmoo and derick ho out massive bronte in the middle of winter on the coldest day of 89 just the 3 of us , they use to stay at kerboxs place when the tour hit town with a bunch of other pros and party like its 1999 . rip mate

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC commented Wednesday, 18 Nov 2020 at 11:39am

That’s rattling..

Wonder how old Brandon is
Or what took his wife Lisa, also too young...

Only know if shmoo remotely by virtue of his reputation for partying, his friendship with jerboa and his adoption of australia as a place to live and raise a family

Upsetting - thoughts with his family and friends - too much of this in our community / let’s all try and make surfing as much of a brother- (and sister-) hood as we can

Rip

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfc... commented Friday, 20 Nov 2020 at 6:23pm

Very sad to read news Like this.....Remember seeing him in heaps of surf mags back in the day. Condolences to his family. Rip mate

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 20 Nov 2020 at 6:46pm
maka2000's picture
maka2000's picture
maka2000 commented Friday, 20 Nov 2020 at 7:10pm

looks like Kelly had some hair on at the time

Finnbob the terror's picture
Finnbob the terror's picture
Finnbob the terror commented Sunday, 22 Nov 2020 at 9:28pm

My deepest condolences to family and friends.
RIP Shimooka.