The Surfing World Mourns Hawaiian Royalty John "Shmoo" Shimooka - Stab Mag

The Surfing World Mourns Hawaiian Royalty John “Shmoo” Shimooka

“Surf, golf, BJJ, I fuckin love the guy” – Kelly Slater

news // Dec 11, 2020
Words by Ashton Goggans
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Tributes have poured into social media the last 24 hours, as the surfing world learned that Hawaiian power surfing icon John Shimooka had taken his own life. 

Widely and lovingly known as simply Shmoo, anyone who encountered the former CT Hawaiian underdog turned mentor, coach, manager, and commentator will recall his electric wit and unrelenting energy. A massive influence on the last two generations of kids, in Hawaii and around the world, Shmoo took great pride in fatherhood himself.

Shmoo’s death comes tragically and shortly on the heels of the death of his wife last year from cancer. 

“My heart is ripped open,” wrote Kelly Slater of his old friend and early tour rival. “I thought we had this.”

A CT veteran, Shmoo did more than a decade on the World Tour, winning the Aloe Up Cup in New Smyrna and finishing runner up in 1995 at Bells to his lifelong friend, tour mate, and sparring partner Sunny Garcia. 

“[Sunny and Shmoo] grew up together,” says Kelly, who was pushed by Shmoo, Sunny and the rest of the Hawaiians of the era to sharpen his teeth in waves of consequence. “He hated me because I was the small wave guy. But once I smoked him at solid Pipe in big surf we became good friends. Then we’ve always been close. Surf, golf, BJJ, I fuckin love the guy.” 

Shmoo’s death will be particularly hard felt in Hawaii, with its surf community still reeling from the death of first Hawaiian World Champ Derek Ho earlier this summer, and the attempted suicide of Sunny Garcia. Following the news, social feeds resoundingly echoed their love and support for the Hawaiian legend.

Our thoughts are with the Shimooka family, and those who were close to Shmoo.  


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

How Much Would You Pay For A Session Like This?

A cost-per-vision breakdown of Kian Martin and Tai Buddha's latest strike mission.

Oct 2, 2022

Ongoing Dialogue: Jack Freestone And Album’s Matt Parker On How They Get Sparks To Fly

"Nowadays, a standard thruster feels pretty alt to me." -Jack

Oct 2, 2022

Davo’s Death Strikes At Surfing’s Core

The underground icon battled demons til the end. His untimely demise is yet another cautionary…

Oct 1, 2022

Macaroni in the Pot

Jaleesa Vincent and 200 Lefts in the Mentawais

Oct 1, 2022

Introducing A Brand New Travel Series (With A Familiar Name)

Watch the first New York episode of Stab & Red Bull's No Contest Off Tour.

Sep 30, 2022

Leandro Dora: Pro Surfer, Businessman, Punk Rock Festival Organizer, Spiritual Mentor, And World Title Winning Surf Coach 

Meet one of the most beloved and effective individuals in the athlete's zone.

Sep 29, 2022


You’re Gonna Click On A New Oscar Langburne Video

Style that can't be denied.

Sep 29, 2022

Long Read: An Angel At My Table

From Stab Issue 15, October 2006: Chris Davidson has one more shot at the big…

Sep 28, 2022


Watch: Kalani David’s Last Dance

A final surf part from the Hawaiian surf/skate prodigy.

Sep 28, 2022

Taylor Steele Won’t Let Surf Filmmaking Die Without a Fight

Movies shown, filmmaking advice, punk rock at the 2022 Solento Surf Festival.

Sep 28, 2022

Wait, Are We Going To See Moana Jones In The Olympics At Teahupo’o?

Team USA (women) and Japan (men) should be able to choose anyone they want to…

Sep 27, 2022

Donald Brink and Matt Biolos Win Mick Fanning’s Electric Acid Surfboard Test

And we had a party in Oceanside to celebrate.

Sep 26, 2022

Kanoa Igarashi and Kirra Pinkerton Answer Call Of Duty, Win Medals Of Honor In 2022 ISA World Games

Teams Japan, USA, and France move into Victor’s Village.

Sep 26, 2022

The Best Euro Surf Trips That Mightn’t Be On Your Radar

Want to know which less-trodden nation offers the most potential?

Sep 26, 2022

Former CT Surfer Chris Davidson Passes Away At Age 45

A radical life tragically ends outside a bar in New South Wales.

Sep 25, 2022

Where You Should Be In Europe Right Now

An overview of the region's greatest hits.

Sep 25, 2022

The Team Ukraine Interview

“There are mines near the shore, and already a lot of people have died…so it’s…

Sep 24, 2022

Mormaii Founder Raided By Brazilian Feds On Suspicion Of Plotting Against Democracy

Curiously, he's the second surf brand founder to become entangled in a political scandal of…

Sep 24, 2022