The Surf World Reacts To The Passing Of Mikala Jones - Stab Mag

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The Surf World Reacts To The Passing Of Mikala Jones

Tearshed tributes from family and friends remembering the rich life of a cherished surfer.

Words by Stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Read the deep dive on the life of Mikala Jones here.

Yesterday surfing lost an icon in Mikala Jones. A man whose influence and friendships seemingly touched every conceivable surfable stretch of coastline around the globe.

Admittedly, your ability to displace water on a surfboard is a strange thing to pinpoint in the wake of someone’s passing. In the grand scheme of things, the panache of one’s bottom turn is made embarrassingly trite compared to how you made people feel and the lessons you imparted.  

The outpouring of love that has since flooded the internet suggests Mikala was one of those special humans who did both exceptionally, and had just as much class and style pulling into ten-foot reef passes as he did around the dinner table, as a stranger extending his help to another, and as a father, partner, brother and friend.

Here’s an anthology of tributes celebrating the rich life of Mikala Jones.

Isabella Jones – daughter

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. I’m 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 🕊️ you’re a legend

Daniel Jones – brother

It’s been 12 hrs and my heart is still breaking. My big brother, my hero, was always there for me. I wish I could have been there for him.

Cliff Kapono – friend

The last slide was my first time surfing real Pipe. 2006ish. I was way too intimidated to sit out at second reef with Healey, Stewart, Goodwin, Tamayo, and Kalani. I was also way to scared to surf next to Jamie, Bruce, Makua and Barca. So I floated around trying my best to get washed in, just so I wouldnʻt have to catch a wave. 

For some silly reason I figured it would be smart to sit deeper on first reef and just inside of second. A free agent zone at the time that has since been celebrated by the likes of Eli, Nathan, Benji, Kala, Makai, and many others. I remember looking at the lineup and being amazed by all my heroes. As it often does, my chance to catch a wave came after a lot of waiting. 

Healey stood up early out the back but couldnʻt get in. Aamion was paddling just inside of him and missed it eventually yelling “GO.” It was really steep. I never rode a 7ʻ2” before. Barely got to my feet and somehow made it to the bottom but lost all my speed. I spent all my energy on the drop, I tried to pump, but it didnʻt work. I panicked and jumped into the lip from below as the ocean imploded onto the first reef. It was the first time that I remember questioning if I would die. Like for real die. 

There was no time to pray or be afraid or anything. Just a deer in the headlight type of moment and right before the ocean descended on my helpless body, I felt something pull me out the back. A miracle I thought as I popped up, literally right next to a long haired man with weirdly perfect teeth. He grabbed my shoulder and said “ hey kid, donʻt do that again.” Iʻm sure he could see how shook up I was, and continued, “just trust youʻll make it.” As he paddled away I could hear him scream with excitement. I decided to take things easy and watch for a bit from the channel. It couldnʻt have been more than five minutes until the same guy was up surfing the next set. 

He engaged his rail from take off, let go of his board, stood straight up into an emerald cathedral. He was flying. After kicking out like RIGHT NEXT TO ME AGAIN, he smiled and said, “see?.” That was my first time meeting Mikala Jones. A real life fucking angel. Sad you had to go home so soon Mikala. Aloha no.

Nathan Myers – friend

Hard to find the words here… I’m not ready to say goodbye.

I met Mikala 25 years ago on my first Surfing Mag editorial trip to Galapagos. I would stay at his house on North Shore for years after, and shared some of the best waves of my life with him at Rocky Point. When we moved to Bali, we were neighbors for a decade. You showed me the way. Our families became entwined. Wives. Kids. Friends. Too many memories to peel apart… all flooding back now.

Late night motorbikes in Kuta. Black sand dawn patrols up the coast. Pushing our kids into waves. Chasing whales with our drones. You were a true friend, with true friends on every coast of the world, and always putting someone up at your house. You helped everyone you could. Gave with all your heart. You’d give the shirt off your back without a second’s thought. Just look at all the outpouring of love online here… all the broken hearts right now.

I profiled Mikala in print a few times… but I don’t think I ever got it right. I cared too much. Tried too hard. Couldn’t separate the journalist from the friendship. I worried about him, too. He surfed too much. The most barreled person I ever met. Always chasing. Always hunting. But what about the future? You can’t just surf forever, can you?

But I see the lesson now. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. So the most we can hope for is to be present in the moment. That’s why Mikala was such an incredible surfer, tube rider and friend, his natural ability to be present in the now.

I’m grateful for our last time hanging out. That was a good one. Surfing with the kids and sharing all-day sunset beers overlooking the pier in Oceanside and laughing a lot. We were looking forward to more adventures in the future. But now… well, we’ll carry you with us, brother. And we’ll be grateful for everything we shared in those present tense moments together. What a legend you are.

We’re all gonna die, but not everyone really lives. And only a rare few as truly live much as you did. Turns out, you really can just surf forever.

Thanks for reminding us, brother. I miss you a lot.

Mick Fanning – friend

So shattered to hear the news. Mikala you were one of a kind. Funny, mellow, an explorer, a pioneer but most of all loving husband and father. I’m going to miss your sense of humor and classic one liners. Love how you always kept it real but were a true ambassador of aloha. To Emma and the girls sending so much love. Mikala loved you more than anything and would always be showing us pictures and videos with the proudest smile on his face. Grateful to have known you the past 25 years and honored to go exploring with you in that time. You will be missed. #MJallday May you forever get barrelled whilst guiding your family from above. I love you brother 🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼❤️

Taylor Steele – friend

Such sad news to hear the passing of Mikala Jones. He was an incredibly gifted surfer who might have surfed more perfect waves than anyone. Usually without cameras or fanfare but just to experience it. I’ve traveled to some of the most remote places in the world with him and he was always calm and easy going. Yet my memories of him are not of those times but more the moments of teaching our daughters to surf in Kuta and family dinner laughs. An inspirational calm humble father that I truly respected as he showed by actions not words. I’ll miss you brother. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Sterling Spencer – friend

My heart hurts 😞 I was always scared of Mikala growing up … he took every wave and his sharp features and tan skin scared me 😂 … when we got older and we started to go on trips together for reef… I realized we are from the same tribe … both of our parents died around the same time and it felt like we were soul brothers and we understood each other … you are a real surfer’s surfer .. legit to the bone … I learned so much from you and I know You’ll visit me soon in the dream realm .. Aloha @mikalajones__ love you and your family 🙏

Roby D’Amico – stranger

I had no house in Hawaii. He invited me to stay with him him and his family for christmas. I didn’t even know him, just a pure beautiful human being. Rest in power legend, huge huge love to the family ❤️

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