Sports

Surfer Dies After Wipeout At Mavericks

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Surfers ride wave during Mavericks Surf Competition, Half Moon Bay. (AP)

Surfers ride wave during the 2010 Mavericks Surf Competition, Half Moon Bay. (AP)

MOSS BEACH (CBS / AP) — An experienced surfer from Hawaii has died after a wipeout at the Mavericks surf site off the San Mateo County coast, where stories-high swells attract the world’s best big-wave surfers and can sometimes prove treacherous, authorities confirmed Thursday.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Sion Milosky, 35, of Haleiwa, Hawaii, was found at the famous surfing spot by rescue crews who responded to a 911 call about a possible drowning on Wednesday evening at the end of West Point Avenue in Princeton by the Sea, San Mateo County Deputy Coroner Emily Tauscher said.

The cause of death was still pending. But Ken Collins, a fellow surfer, said Milosky appeared to have drowned after the lip of the wave he was riding collapsed on him around 6:30 p.m.

“Sion was dominating it. He was out there catching so many waves. He was so good,” Collins said. Milosky was staying with Collins in Santa Cruz and the pair had headed out to Mavericks to surf about 2 p.m.

Another surfer found Milosky at the entrance to Pillar Point Harbor, about a mile from Mavericks roughly 15 to 20 minutes after he wiped out and went under. Milosky was floating face down, still tethered to his board; he was pulled onto a jet ski and taken to the beach, where the surfer attempted to give him CPR.

Milosky was transported to Seton Coastside Hospital in Moss Beach where he died about 7:45 p.m., said Felton Fire Capt. Loree Borelli.

Milosky was a well-known big wave surfer who was sponsored by athletic clothing company Volcom last year, according to his Facebook page.

The waves at Mavericks have made it a coveted destination for the world’s best big-wave surfers and the site of a prestigious and perilous contest.

The contest — first held there in 1999 — did not come together this year because the right combination of swell, wind and weather was missing.

But surfers continue to come to Maverick’s willing to risk injury for a chance to surf the break.

“Hazardous and changing conditions are a constant when there are waves at Mavericks, and it’s a very dangerous place,” said Cary Smith, deputy harbormaster at the nearby Pillar Point Harbor.

“Everybody is saddened with this incident, as with all incidents,” he said. “And this was an experienced surfer.”

Another surfer, Jacob Trette, nearly drowned in January when he was pummeled and washed through rocks by a big wave at Mavericks. Trette was taken to Stanford Hospital afterward and survived.

In 1994, Mark Foo, a seasoned big-wave surfer from Hawaii, lost his life after wiping out on a wave while surfing the spot.

Like Foo, Milosky apparently had experience surfing big waves. Last month, he received the North Shore Underground Surfer of the Year award, which is given to surfers based on their performance in contests and free-surfing abilities.

Milosky apparently used some of the $25,000 prize money to fly to Northern California this week to catch one of the last big swells at Maverick’s this season.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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