Kaua‘i Loses Another Surf Legend

Sion Milosky with wife Suzi Olaes and daughters Syriah and Awakea

Sion Milosky with wife Suzi Olaes and daughters Syriah and Awakea

Humble. Friends and family say that’s the best word to describe Sion Milosky. The Kalaheo native, who drowned March 16 at famed California surf spot Maverick’s, always had his head in the right place.

Asked in a Surfing Magazine article last November if he considered himself a professional surfer, the 35-year-old replied, “No, but I keep the dream alive by running a small business, welding and building driveway gates.”

Most in the surfing world would dispute what he said. After all, he’s considered by his peers as one of the best big-wave surfers in the world.

And just last month, he took home the honor of Hawaii’s “Underground Surfer of the Year.”

The award brings to light a hardcore group that doesn’t care for and refuses publicity.

Kepa Kruse, a childhood friend and fellow surfer, is still in disbelief of Milosky’s passing.

“Kaua’i lost one of its most cherished sons,” Kruse says. “It goes way beyond just surfing. He was a strength in the community – a person you could rely on, a hero and a brother.”

Kruse knew Milosky his whole life. Their parents were friends before the two were even born.

“I grew up in the water with him,” Kruse says. “I was six years younger, so he was like a big brother.”

Family came first to Milosky, but big-wave surfing was a close second.

Despite coming to Oahu’s North Shore for 15 years to take on the huge waves, Milosky took a break about 10 years ago to raise his two daughters on Kaua’i. Just five years ago, he moved back to pursue his passion for the water, while taking care of his family and running his small business.

“I love being out on the ocean – not just the freedom that we get, just being out there,” Milosky told abstractlines.tv in November. “I would love to spend the next couple years searching and, like, maybe trying to really catch the biggest wave. That’s, like, an insane feeling.”

His sister, Stephanie Goodspeed, hopes people will remember the impact he had on their lives, as he did with hers.

“I remember when I was little and you tried to teach me how to surf Pine Trees,” she wrote on his Facebook wall. “You let me go and I ended up over a reef and freaked out because I was scared of the reef that something would bite me. You tried to tell me to paddle to you and I just cried for you to come get me. You came and got me off the reef and called me a baby. Looking back now, that was pretty funny.”

Fellow Kaua’i surfer and friend Gavin Gillette also shared his thoughts on Facebook.

“Gonna miss you, Sion,” he wrote on his page. “You and Andy (Irons) will be holding it down in heaven. You will always be an inspiration. I’ll do my best in everything I do, stay humble and charge, ’til we meet again, my friend.”

Just four months ago, Kaua’i said goodbye to another one of its proudest surfing sons in Andy Irons. Now with Milosky gone to the surfing heavens as well, it gives us time to reflect on what they stood for and how they inspired us all to be better every single day.

To help out the Sion Milosky family, go to any Bank of Hawaii branch and request that your contribution go to the “Sion Milosky Memorial Fund.” For those outside of Hawaii, contributions can be made via PayPal.

You also can donate by going to volcom.com. In December, Sion won $25,000 through the Vans and Surfing Magazine North Shore Underground program with the intention of financing future surf trips. Vans will contribute the entire amount to a fund to be established to assist the Milosky family.

He is the second Hawaii big-wave surfer killed at Maverick’s, just south of San Francisco. Mark Foo died there in 1994.

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