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Mark Foo


Mark Foo

mark foo 1

Mark Sheldon Foo was a professional surfer who born on February 5, 1958 in Singapore to Chinese parents. Acknowledged as one of the best big wave riders, Foo helped to increase the popularity of the sport worldwide. Even though he died young, Foo is known for his bravery, determination and enthusiasm.

Early Life and Surfing

When Mark Foo was 10, he moved to Hawaii with his family where he developed a passion for surfing. He started to surf the waves at Mark Foothe South Shore of O’hu and continued to surf even when his family kept moving during his teen years. After finishing his high school, he returned to Hawaii. In 1977, he joined his first professional surf trip, IPS World Tour. However he soon stopped competing and quit the IPS World tour. Foo started to ride the huge waves at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of O’ahu. Foo’s love to brave the waves led him to bigger and bigger waves.

Accidental Death at Mavericks

Foo died on December 23, 1994, when he was only 36, while surfing at the mavericks. Mavericks is a natural big wave phenomenon located in Half Moon Bay, Northern California. Surfer Magazine stated that Foo visited the city just to surf the waves of Mavericks. With little sleep and jet-lag, Foo paddled out to surf and faced an 18 to 20 feet wave that ended in wipeout. The wipeout ultimately caused him to drown because his foot was entangled by the leash to the board. His body was found 2 hours later in the Pillar Point Lagoon tied to his broken surfboard. His death came as a big shock to the surfer’s community. His funeral was held on 30th December at Waimea and was attended by hundreds of people. About 150 surfers went into the Bay to form a circle in his honor. Foo’s ashes was scattered into the ocean by one of the surfers.


Foo was considered as one of the best big wave surfers of his time. Due to his courageous acts and enthusiasm, he became a favorite topic among the photographers.  Moreover, he was one of the few surfers to have his own cable television surfing program. Foo’s motto was, “If you want to ride the ultimate wave, you have to be willing to pay the ultimate price”. He lived up to it to the day he died trying to accomplish another feat. His death brought attention to the extremely large sizes of the surf boards and leashes and safety measures have since been taken. Mark Foo has been featured in books; Andy Martin’s Stealing the Wave and Matt Warshaw’s Maverick’s: the story of big-wave surfing. Since his tragic death, Mark Foo has become a symbol of bravery and courage among the surfers.


Accidental Death of Mark Foo at Mavericks

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