“I wish I could give you one last hug. I wish I could tell you again how much I love you and thank you for being the best dad…”
The surfing world is in shock, understandably, after the premature death of tuberiding maestro Mikala Jones, whose POV images from inside impossibly perfect caverns, have captivated surfers and photo editors for years.
His daughter Isabella Lokelani Jones paid tribute to her Dad in a moving post on Instagram.
“I’m in so much disbelief right now, this doesn’t feel real. I love you so much dad and i wish i could give you one last hug. I wish i could tell you again how much i love you and thank you for being the best dad. I wish you were still here with us, you weren’t supposed to leave yet. This is too soon. I know you are in a good place now with nana vi, and your friends. I wish this never happened and we could just wake up and go surf together tomorrow morning.
“I’m not sure how to put this in words, but my dad got into a bad surfing accident and didn’t make it. Im happy he was doing what he loved the most. Life will never be the same without you. I miss you so much, i would do anything to get one more moment, even if it was us arguing and then laughing our asses off. Thank you for teaching me so many life lessons, and always being there for me. I wish you were still here with us right now. I will always be think about you dad ❤️ i love you so much, thank you for everything ❤️ fly high 🕊️ ur a fucking legend.”
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A roll call of surfing luminaries including Mark Healey, Kamalei Alexander, Taylor Steele, Tia Blanco, Griffin Colapinto, Shane Dorian, Laura Enever and Lyndie Irons paid tribute below the line.
“A truly special and amazing human,” wrote Healey.
Mikala, who was forty-four, was no stranger to putting himself in danger as he charged waves across the Indonesian archipelago.
In a 2012 interview with Nathan Myers, Mikala recounted his near-death experience at a remote reef.
“I got sucked over the falls and landed on my board…I may have gotten knocked out for a moment, because the next thing I remember is touching the bottom with my feet. I don’t know…all that happened pretty fast.
“With my feet on the bottom, I got a push straight up. I still hadn’t opened my eyes yet, so when I reached the surface I looked around and everything was just going in circles. I barely got my head up for air and I saw the next ten-footer barreling down on me. I managed to scream ‘help’ and then Boom, the lip landed right on me. Underwater everything was going in circles. I grabbed my leash and started to shimmy myself up. I don’t know how long I was under, but I got up just before the next wave hit. Again, everything was going in circles. I yell out again, ‘Help!’ and then the third wave hits me. This was about a 6-foot double-up, and this was the gnarly one.
“I’m underwater doing summersaults and I can’t figure out which way is up. I try to find my leash and I can’t do it… I’m underwater, looking for my leash, looking for the bottom, but everything I see is just spinning in circles. And by this time, I actually felt the fifth wave pass over me. And at that point, I was like, ‘Are you kidding me. I’m going to drown.’
“And then suddenly I’m out of my body. I’m actually looking down at myself. The surface of the water is only two feet above me, but I couldn’t figure it out.I hear my daughter’s voice, ‘Daddy, come home.
“And then I came to. I don’t know how, but suddenly I’m out of the water. I went from watching myself drown — literally going ‘glug, glug, glug’ — to suddenly standing on the reef, like angels pulled me out of the water. Next thing I know, the sixth wave hits me and I just bear hug my board. Everything is still spinning and I just go summersaulting along the reef hanging onto my board as tight as I can.
“I was literally seconds away from drowning. After that I just layed on the beach coughing up water, with bubbles coming out of my ear. And the waves were just pumping. I was bummed to miss the rest of the swell, but I guess that’s better than going home in a bodybag.”