HomeAsian AmericansPro surfer Mikala Jones dies after surfing accident in Indonesia
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Pro surfer Mikala Jones dies after surfing accident in Indonesia

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Professional surfer and Hawaiian native, Mikala Jones, has died from an injury while surfing in Indonesia’s Mentawai waters.

Jones, 44, was known amongst the surfing community for surfing inside breaking waves at remote locations while capturing the exhilaration of tube-riding from a first-person perspective.

The accident occurred around 9:15 a.m. on Sunday, July 9. Jones had been staying at the Awera Resort in North Sipora with his wife and three children. During a morning surf, he suffered a 10-centimeter-long puncture to the inside of his left groin and a severing of his femoral artery by his surfboard fin, Surfline reports.

The Awera Resort management reported it to the Mentawai hospital which sent staff to transport Jones by boat from Tuapejat Pier.

Jones’ friend, who was on the boat, shared that the cut on Jones’ leg was four inches deep and that he was losing a lot of blood after catching the wave. Hospital staff put a tourniquet on him while rushing him to land, KTLA reports. Jones was declared dead at the hospital.

Jones was born in Kailua, Hawaii and began surfing at the age of seven. A few years later, he participated in the 12-and-under “menuhune” age group. He won two national championships as an amateur, according to WTHR.

The outlet reported that Jones began experimenting with first-person images while surfing by attaching a camera to the fabric fastener on his board. While lying on his board to paddle towards the wave, the camera rested below his chin. When he was ready to catch the wave, he would pick up the camera as he stood up and take pictures with the camera held behind him.

Once portable and lightweight cameras were invented, Jones began using GoPros to capture his surfing and editing software to make a montage of his images to allow for an immersive, 360-degree experience. He was eventually sponsored by GoPro.

A childhood friend of Jones, Jason Magallanes told KTLA “I told him he was going to be the next big thing out of Hawaii because he was so good.”

Ryan Moss, who began filming with Jones in 2010, recalled travelling for a few days at a time without internet service or bathrooms to reach a wave and wait for the swell to approach. Moss told KTLA Jones was up there with the best barrel riders in the world.

Jones’ daughter, Isabella, shared her love for her father on Instagram with their photos together from her childhood and her memories of surfing.

Isabella, Jones’ daughter, remembers him through a heartfelt Instagram post

“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,” Isabella writes. “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.”

“He was a surf-stoked grom always smiling, always positive, he was the first one out in the water every day every time, and he’d be the last one in, he was always so dark from the sun,” Magallanes told KTLA.

Magallanes remembered Jones as someone who was humble and someone there’s “no way you couldn’t love.” He called Jones a “true soul surfer” for embarking on “gnarly missions.”

Reef, an apparel company Jones was an ambassador for, wrote in a statement: “Mikala was a surfing savant. An artist ahead of his time painting his canvas on waves like no other.”

Pro surfer Kelly Slater, an 11-time World Champion, commented under surf photographer Brian Bielmann’s tribute post “Sobering moment. Maybe nobody lived this life better. Incredible guy and surfer.”

Jones is survived by his father, John Jones, wife Emma Bereton, his two daughters, Isabella and Violet. He is also survived by his two brothers, Keoni and Daniel and his sister, Malia.

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