Shimooka, a former world tour surfer turned broadcaster, died in the early hours of Monday morning, according to Surfing NSW, for whom Shimooka had been general manager of partnerships since 2018.
“Everyone in our organization joins his son, Brandon, immediate family, and his extended worldwide network of friends, in grieving his loss. It is our saddest day.
“We will commemorate and celebrate John’s life in the days and weeks to come.”
Originally from Hawaii, Shimooka, who also had a black belt in jiu-jitsu, competed in the World Surf League’s men’s Championship Tour between 1989 and 1998.
Another former world champion, Tom Carroll, replied to Slater’s post with the words “no-sense. I thought so too. Shmoo RIP,” while four-time world champion Lisa Andersen commented on Shimooka’s most recent Instagram post: “I’m lost for words. Hope you are at peace.”
No cause of death has been announced. CNN has contacted the New South Wales Police but has not received a response.