While the surfing community does not get as much limelight as other popular sports like football, tennis and basketball, the entire world is shocked and in grief over the tragic death of surfer Mikala Jones over the weekend. Jones, aged 44, suffered an accident in the wee hours of Sunday while doing what he loved most―surfing. The prolific surfer could not make it and passed away soon after. The tragic news was broken to the world by his daughter Isabella Jones.
People befriending death and leaving the world whilst being engaged in their favourite activities is not something new. American actor Paul Walker, best known for his portrayal of Brian O’Conner in the Fast & Furious movie franchise, suffered a horrific death in a car crash on November 30, 2013. Such untimely demises are always painful for their loved ones to accept, as evident from Isabella’s post on social media.
So, as the world mourns the loss of the ace surfer, we pay homage to Mikala Jones by looking at his career highlights, his love for surfing and more.
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A look at Mikala Jones’ career highlights
Jones’ discovery of his love for surfing
Born in Hawaii’s Ohau, Mikala Jones grew up in the Rocky Point where he spent his days surrounded by the ocean and its waves. From a tender age, he started experiencing the thrill of riding the North Shore waves along with his siblings Daniel and Malia. It was during his childhood that Mikala Jones fell in love with the ocean.
Jones decided to take up surfing and hone his surfing skills at the North Shore. In order to pursue surfing seriously, he decided to take part in the extremely competitive North Shore arena and was quick to leave his mark.
Although he tried his hand at competitive surfing, Jones found his calling in free surfing and tube riding. The latter became his USP, and his ability to ride deep, heavy barrels set him apart. He soon became famous for riding some of the most challenging waves the ocean could throw at surfers.
His role in the revival of surfing
Mikala Jones decided to broaden his horizons as he left Hawaii to explore new possibilities. He shifted his ground (or, in this case, ocean) of action from Hawaii to Indonesia as he moved to Bali.
In the early 2000s, Mikala Jones was instrumental in bringing Bali back into the limelight for professional surfers. Jones discovered breaks such as Keramas and other right-handers on the east coast. By virtue of his work, Jones became an influential figure in the resurgence of Bali’s surfing scene.
While Bali was the base for his adventures, Jones often used to embark on strike missions to remote and less-crowded regions across the Indonesian archipelago. His indomitable desire for the perfect barrel took him to isolated zones that required ferries and leaky boats. Certain breaks, such as Apocalypse and Sobatu, became his preferred destinations as he started pushing the boundaries of what was achievable in surfing.
Reaching out to the world
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Mikala Jones adapted to the age of self-documenting technology as he used point-of-view (POV) cameras to capture snippets from his surf rides.
Jones offered his viewers ample room to immerse themselves in the adventures he undertook. He mastered the technique of making his audience feel as if they are on a ride themselves, which made for captivating content. Inspired by his father’s love for photography, Jones was always looking out for new ways to share his adventures with his viewers.
Another one of his USPs was his innate ability to tell stories that captured the attention of his audience. A common trick that Jones used to rely on throughout his 25-year-long surfing career was posting cryptic photographs on social media, leaving viewers guessing the location of his next adventure.
How did Mikala Jones’ accident happen?
On the morning of July 9, Mikala Jones suffered an accident while surfing in the Mentawai Islands. He was staying at the Awera Resort along with his family. Various reports suggest that, when he reached the resort from the spot of the accident, the left side of his groin was visibly impaled by the surfboard fin. The wound caused by the surfboard fin was about 10 centimetres long, as per a report by surfing website Surfline.
Individuals close to him said that the accident caused a severing of his femoral artery, which resulted in catastrophic blood loss. Mikala Jones was taken to the Mentawai Hospital but was declared dead on arrival.
A look at Mikala Jones’ personal life
Mikala Jones was married to Emma Brereton and resided in Bali, Indonesia with their children, Isabella and Violet Jones. Isabella was the one who broke the news of her father’s death to the world.
In an Instagram post, Isabella wrote, “I’m not sure how to put this in words, but my dad got into a bad surfing accident and didn’t make it. I’m happy he was doing what he loved the most.”
Other than posting throwback photos of herself and Mikala Jones, Isabella also reflected on the loss, stating, “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.”
The world of surfing, including legends such as 11-time World Surf League champion Kelly Slater and Puerto Rican surfing superstar Tia Blanco, took to social media to pay their respects to Mikala Jones.
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(Main and Featured Image Credits: Courtesy Instagram/@mikalajones)