December 12, 2021 - January 22, 2022: Issue 522


Aloha Award in memory of John Shimooka recipients named

Surfing NSW has announced the recipients of the inaugural Aloha Award in Memory of John Shimooka. In November 2020 the worldwide surfing community was deeply saddened by the premature passing of former Championship Tour surfer and Surfing NSW Partnerships General Manager John “Shmoo” Shimooka.Here is John pictured with 11-times World Champion Kelly Slater in Manly in 2019.  Photo: Ethan Smith / Surfing NSW 

Sunday, 12 December 2021 

New South Wales surfers Brenda Miley and Matt McSorely have been awarded the inaugural Aloha Award in Memory of John Shimooka. 

The inaugural award saw more than 17 nominations that covered surf coaching, judging, community participation and overall contribution to the sport. 

Both Brenda and Matt were recognised for their contribution to the sport and their respective communities, with the committee noting Brenda's 27 years contribution to the surfing industry as the founder of the Let’s Go Surfing learn-to-surf business which operates at Bondi Beach, Maroubra Beach and Byron Bay.

Brenda Miley. Photo: Joshn Brown/Surfing NSW

Matt McSorely was acknowledged for his work as President of Queenscliff Boardriders’ Club for the past five years where he has been instrumental in building membership programs for girls and groms; championing the inclusion of Aboriginal heritage into the club, and re-engaging older, former members to have them return to the club.

Matt McSorely. Photo: Tim Quinn

Aloha Award In Memory of John Shimooka Committee Chairman, John O’Neill, stated: “The entrants were of a high calibre and ranged from surfing administrators, self-employed coaches through to teachers and boardrider club volunteers. The nominees spanned generations, from teenage surfers through to those who have decades of experience in surf-related activities. Each nominee demonstrated a passion for surfing, a strong desire to support the mental and physical health of their local communities and, above all, they continue to spread the spirit of aloha for which the award’s namesake was best known.” 


In November 2020 the worldwide surfing community was deeply saddened by the premature passing of former Championship Tour surfer and Surfing NSW Partnerships General Manager John “Shmoo” Shimooka. 

To commemorate John’s life and his contribution to surfing, Surfing NSW announced the inaugural Aloha Award in Memory of John Shimooka on what would have been his 52nd birthday (9th November). 

The award is both democratic and equitable by design and will include male and female winners annually. 

Nominations opened on November 9, 2021, with a request for each nomination to explain how the nominee has contributed to building a better community through surfing. Nominations closed on November 30, 2021. 

The annual award winners will be people whose passion and community spirit spreads stoke and aloha. Their achievements may be in fields as diverse as performance surfing, coaching, mental health, surf rescue, boardrider clubs, commentating or surfing administration. 

The chosen winners received a custom surfboard from Shmoo’s shaper Wade Tokoro as well as a range of products from Vissla and a commemorative trophy.

Tokoro surfboards are currently available at: 

Beach Beat, Sunshine Coast QLD.

Onboard Store, Byron Bay NSW.

Onboard Store, Mona Vale NSW.

Aloha Manly, NSW

Sanbah, Newcastle NSW.

Rip Curl, Ulladulla NSW.

Full Circle, Philip Island Vic.

The Surfboardroom Perth WA.

The Board Store, Dunsborough WA

The 2021 winners will be presented with their trophies at the Sydney Surf Pro to be held in Manly in May 2022.

The Aloha Award in Memory of John Shimooka is run by a committee of Shmoo’s family, former colleagues and friends and is chaired by Surfing NSW Chairman John O’Neill. 

The committee members include:

Brandon Shimooka – John’s son

John Mossop – Vissla Managing Director

Luke Madden – Surfing NSW CEO

Ben Johnston – Johnston Advisory Director

Suzy Tight – Former colleague and General Manager of Vestal Watches 

“Aside from a general greeting, Aloha also is an essence of love, peace, respect and compassion, which Shmoo had in spades. Unfortunately, he knew – more than most – the challenges of mental health and was an advocate and co-author of Surfing NSW’s Mental Health program,” said O’Neill. 

“As the anchor of Surfing NSW’s “Boardcast” program, John took the joy of surfing to a global audience and the world’s best surfers, commentators and shapers were always prepared to give up their time to speak with him on the program.” 

The NSW Parliamentary Friends of Surfing, chaired by the Member for Manly, James Griffin, also encourages nominations from within appropriate electorates. 

The award will be presented annually in conjunction with the presentation of Surfing NSW’s Midget Farrelly Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Friends of Surfing Chairman and Member for Manly, Mr. James Griffin, MP. Photo by by Glenn Duffus / Surfing NSW