Pro Surfer Dies in Freak Accident With Board

Hawaii native Mikala Jones was 'arguably one of the most barreled surfers on the planet'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2023 8:21 AM CDT

An American professional surfer who became famous for taking cameras and viewers inside barrel waves has died in a freak surfing accident. Mikala Jones, 44, was fatally injured while riding waves in Indonesia's Mentawai Islands on Sunday morning. According to Surfline, the native Hawaiian was surfing near Awera Resort in North Sipora, where he was staying with his wife and three children, when a surfboard fin apparently punctured his left groin and severed the femoral artery.

Resort staff contacted the Mentawai Hospital, which sent officials to pick up Jones at Tuapejat Pier, where he'd been taken by boat, "but sadly, he was declared dead at the hospital," the outlet reports. Jones' daughter, Isabella, broke the news of his death on Instagram, per People. "My dad got into a bad surfing accident and didn't make it," she wrote. "I'm in so much disbelief right now, this doesn't feel real." She added, "I wish this never happened and we could just wake up and go surf together tomorrow morning," but "I'm happy he was doing what he loved the most."

Jones, who featured on the cover of numerous surfing magazines, worked to "push the limits of expert tuberiding in dangerous waves and helped reimagine how it could be photographed," per Surfline. Apparel company Reef said its former ambassador was "a contemporary surfing POV content creator ahead of his time" as well as "arguably one of the most barreled surfers on the planet." "Maybe nobody lived this life better. Incredible guy and surfer," wrote legendary pro surfer Kelly Slater, while fellow surf legend Mick Fanning described Jones as "one of a kind," per CNN. (More obituary stories.)

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