Renowned big-wave surfer Óscar Moncada died in hospital early yesterday from injuries sustained in a two-vehicle collision Saturday in his home state of Oaxaca. Two other occupants of the car he was traveling in were also killed.
Moncada, a native of Puerto Escondido —Mexico’s most famous big-wave destination— was 34.
The crash occurred on a section of federal highway 200 about 35 kilometers south of Puerto Escondido in the municipality of Santa María Tonameca. The Mercedes convertible in which the surfer and two of his friends were traveling was crushed when it collided with an Isuzu truck at around 4:00pm Saturday.
The car burst into flames following the collision while the truck overturned before coming to a halt across the two-lane highway, blocking traffic in both directions. The truck driver was also injured in the incident and taken to hospital in a serious condition.
The two other victims have been identified as Diego Oropeza, also a Puerto Escondido surfer, and tattoo artist Walter Rendón.
Municipal, state and federal police attended the scene of the accident along with firefighters from Puerto Escondido. Federal and state police are investigating the cause.
Moncada gained international fame for his skill at surfing the large waves at his home break at Zicatela Beach, nicknamed the Mexican Pipeline. He competed in big-wave surfing competitions around the world and was sponsored by the United States company Volcom.
The governing body for professional surfers, the World Surf League, described Moncada as “a big-wave legend” and said that he had been “a pillar of the Puerto Escondido surfing community for more than two decades.”
In July, he placed ninth in the Puerto Escondido Challenge and was currently ranked 19th on the Big Wave Tour. In 2006 he gained a wildcard into an elite championship tour event featuring the world’s best surfers.
News of the surfer’s death has further rattled the worldwide surfing community that was already reeling from the death of another pro-surfer, Brazilian Jean da Silva.
Just hours before he was killed, Moncada posted a heartfelt tribute and farewell to Silva, who is believed to have taken his own life.
Now, the tributes are flowing for Moncada, who apart from being a world-class big-wave surfer, was also a well-loved member of both the local and international surfing community.