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.)

Comments (26)
  1. Muhammed says:

    Dare to be stupid!

    1. cfd country surf says:

      muhammed< you are a kook! sion lived the life and will be respected, honored and missed by many. a true warrior has been lost. god bless him and those he left behind. aloha sion we love you and will miss you greatly

    2. Edward says:

      IN a much better place… have some faith,any faith !Who creates those waves… GOD BLESS !

  2. Mochalatta me says:

    To not take a chance in ife doing something you love is like living a half life. Rest in peace Sion.

  3. Danny says:

    Who wants to live a timid life not taking any chances. He died doing something he loved to do. You could die in your accounting office of heart disease, from being a lazy assed lump on a log. Or as Milosky died in his office doing what he enjoyed the most. Muhammed when was the last time you got your pulse racing? I am building a hot rod for my 14 y/o son and I. Plus we are a family 3 and we have a garage with 9 bicycles. We each have a road bike, mountain bike and hybrid. My favorite blasting up and down our California mountain roads on the skinny bike. High gear tucked in and leaning into a fast sweeping turn. Now that’s a rush, will it kill me? I’d rather die trying to cheat death than cautiously sit on the sidelines.

  4. Suzanne says:

    I think that somewhere in between “Dare to be stupid” and “I’d rather die trying to cheat death” is where I think that the bottom line is. It’s to have the courage to live your life doing what you truly love. Whether it’s surfing big waves or painting them on a canvas doesn’t matter. Milosky was clearly an amazing surfer who chose to follow his passion and that deserves respect. I’m sure he’ll be missed by many and my condolences go out to his family and friends.

  5. Claude DeMoss says:

    Death, regardless of how it comes, is never pleasant…To go out looking for it, seems so sensless!

  6. Sm says:

    Surf ’til it hurts

  7. nomo_obo says:

    Hope that Sion’s death will not be in vain. Time to develop new big wave surfing technology that allows for emergency oxygen for the truly daring.


  8. E N says:

    I know people always said that, ” Well, he died doing what he loves doing”!
    That’s great but not if you left your wife and kids now defending for themselves
    and without a father!
    Is it really worth that risk to have that thrill and end up in tragedy!
    I remembered watching this extreme stunts show a while back where this guy leaped off the cliff and died! And his daughter I think like 10 years or so witnessed the whole thing below!
    I think all this macho guys needs to think twice about the consequences especially if they are a family man beforehand.
    Well, obviously they don’t!


    1. S Tyree says:

      Agreed! He had a wife and family…sure hope they are okay and that he planned for their future! ST

  9. CN says:

    I appreciate the points of view from those who favor chasing the thrills to lead an exciting life. Unfortunately, we cannot ask this gentleman if he would now trade his life for that excitement. Not sure what Mr. Milosky or his family would say given the choice.

  10. KarenO says:

    I have to say it alludes me as to why people risk their lives at Mavericks. I am content just to go and watch the waves safely from above. I guess a challenge is a challenge not matter what it is.
    My heart goes out to the family and friends of this young man and all the young people who have been injured or died at Mavericks.

  11. broey lawrence says:

    I agree with muhamed.
    surfers are the biggest kooks of all.
    wanna be jocks / fake hippies.
    they talk about this oneness with the earth and act all peaceful…until you snake a wave…then they cry like a rich kid.

    1. g13 says:

      stay on the beach where you belong

  12. g13 says:

    Broey and Muhamed,(dirka dirka jihad jihad) go play in the sand with your camel your names says it all KOOKS

  13. brosephine baker says:

    g13 is too cool for school. racist dork. go beat your wife…..dork
    You sound like a real tough-guy

  14. Geno says:

    Rest in Peace Sion