Tributes pour in for popular tour surfer, manager…
The diminutive former world number nineteen and jiujitsu black-belt, John Shimooka, whose motto was “life is too short to be serious” has reportedly been found dead at his Sydney home.
Shimooka, a suave motherfucker with excellent hair who had just turned fifty-one, quit the tour in 1999 to move from Hawaii to Cronulla, in Sydney’s southern suburbs, and raise his son Brandon with his Australian wife Lisa.
“When I looked at my baby boy I knew it was all over… I finally found out what we’re really put on earth for, to reproduce beautiful little human beings like Brandon. I have loved children all my life, and to have one of my own is the ultimate. He’s my jewel,” Shmoo told Hawaii’s Star Bulletin.
Shmoo won a tour event in Japan and was runner-up to his best pal Sunny Garcia at Bells in 1995, riding an ultra-fast Greg Webber. He circled the tour for a dozen seasons, finishing nineteenth in 1995.
A gaming card from 1992 said Shmoo “dances to the beat of a different drummer. His reputation as a party animal may overshadow his abilities in the water, whether tearing the tops off Ulu barrels or going airborne at a California beach break, but does he care? Of course not, as long as he has a chance to speak his mind. In which case he would probably say life is too short to be serious. Shmoo lives the classic surfer’s lifestyle: surf the best you can and have fun while doing it.”
After leaving the tour, Shmoo got deep into jiujitsu and became a manager for popular surfers Craig Anderson and Jordy Smith.
Two months ago, on the first anniversary of his wife Lisa’s death, Shmoo posted a moving tribute on Instagram.
Last year, Shmoo spoke at a surfing contest organised by another former pro, Kurt Nyholm, to raise money for Head Space, an Australian charity that provides mental health support for 12-25-year-olds.
“Shmoo spoke of his struggles and the dark places they’ve taken him,” another tour surfer Toby Martin said. “Now we have Sunny(Garcia). So it has to stop, and we need to find ways to help. This event offered a passive way for surfers to reach out. It was a platform so surfers could let their guard down. That helps stop guys from becoming isolated, which I know from my own personal experience is where the problems start.”