LEGENDARY SURFERS
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"The Women & The Waves"

See the video trailer. The following is from the website:

"The Women and the Waves” was conceived out of Executive Producer, Heather Hudson’s passion for surfing, first… and being a female, second. Having surfed for three decades, Heather came to the conclusion that being a surfer, and being a female surfer has been quite a “trip”!

A few years back, filmmaker and “The Women and the Waves” co-producer, Peck Euwer asked Heather to be one of five subjects in his 2005 documentary, “The Craving”. She accepted. The focus of “The Craving” was surf addiction… how that works, what goes on in their heads. “The Craving” was raw, real life. It premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to a packed house at the Arlington Theater in 2006. Featuring five surfers, different ages, different backgrounds and all sharing the same drive to surf often!

After seeing it, Heather was completely and absolutely inspired! It occurred to her that she was the only woman featured in the film and had a strong desire to tell more of the surf story from the feminine perspective, a story that has always been there, but often overlooked or minimized in the surfing world. She approached Peck while surfing on a rarely uncrowded and perfect day. "I have your next surf film," she said, pointing to her head. "It's right here." He smiled knowingly. (She had no idea what she was getting herself into!) – “Okay, let’s talk”, he replied. At that moment, the yet untitled documentary “The Women and the Waves” was born.



Excerpt from The Press Release:

WOMEN SURFERS MAKE WAVES IN NEW DOCUMENTARY

The Women and the Waves
Celebrates the Female Surfing Experience Through the Decades

(SANTA BARBARA, CA — January, 2009) “I never wanted to surf like a girl,” smiles 64-year-old Linda Benson, “But now it’s different…they’re really good!” For women who have paddled head-first into a once male dominated sport, surfing is not only a daily passion, but a way of life. Battling fierce tides and stereotypes, female surfers from every decade are connected by a common thread: they are “The Women in the Waves.”

... Through the collaborative efforts of Heather Hudson (Graciegirl LLC) and Peck Euwer (Swell Pictures Inc.), the film production documents the female surfing experience through the lives of ten women from age 17 to 64.

From the swells of Mexico to Hawaii’s temperate waters and the enticing California coastline, audiences will gain insight into what it’s like to “Surf like a girl!” Shot in High Definition, The Women and the Waves pays tribute to pioneers who paved the way and recognition to the everyday surfers that keep the dream alive.

Featuring 10 extraordinary women, the 48 minute film introduces five-time Women’s World Champion, Linda Benson, who began riding waves at age 11 in 1955, and 50-year-old Zeuf, a longboarding Santa Cruz local and self professed “oceanaholic”, who despite a valiant battle with cancer, still manages to ride the waves she loves.

Of the younger generations, viewers meet Rachel Harris, 17, as she shreds in-between high school classes and weighs the options of going to college or pursuing a pro career. Chat with 22-year-old Aussie waterwoman, Shakira Westdorp and watch in awe as she drops into bombs at Waimea Bay. Integrating interviews with old and new surfing footage, The Women and the Waves allows surfers and non-surfers alike to savor surfing from the feminine perspective while throwing in comments from the guys for good measure.

Through the decades, women have carved a place in today’s surfing world and found a place of their own. “I remember going for weeks without seeing another girl in the water,” remarks executive producer Heather Hudson, who started in 1978. “A few years ago while surfing my favorite break, I noticed that the women out numbered the men in the line-up. If someone told me 30 years ago that this would be true, I’d have said they were crazy!”

Since modern surfing stormed the West Coast in the 1950s, the waves have not changed, but the people who ride them have. Through striking visuals and inspiring interviews The Women and the Waves reveals what surfing truly is to female riders of all ages —a sport and a lifestyle. “The film was conceived out of my passion for surfing, first …and being a female, second.” explains Hudson, “Being a surfer has been quite a trip!”

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Maurice Cole

"Though he’s shaped boards for a number of world champs, Maurice Cole’s more than a shaper —- he’s been an innovator, pioneer, designer, madman, charger, and entrepreneur, among other things. He founded BASE Surfboards, the all-star shaping co-op in Australia, and then suddenly exited. Since then, he and mate Ross Clarke-Jones have been towing large surf and working on Maurice’s next design advancements.

"He’s opinionated, controversial, and tack sharp. This is his first U.S. interview in a long while. Enjoy, discuss, and wish him the best on his fight..." Please go to Casey Koteen's interview of Maurice at:

Maurice Cole Emerges | Transworld Surf

Pipe First Ridden

Like Rabbit Kekai, the Hotcurl Guys have stories of Pipeline being ridden as early as the 1940s -- in their case, by bodysurfing sans trunks. Read: LEGENDARY SURFERS: Legends of the Hotcurl

Mike Doyle also has a Pipe story for September 1959 at: LEGENDARY SURFERS: 1959

It is likely the North Shore, including The Pipeline, has been ridden in various ways on various boards -- or not -- for hundreds of years...

The following is courtesy of SURFER Magazine:



IT WAS HOLLOW AT THE PIPELINE - The Dubious Documentation of Surfing's First Slab

by Kimball Taylor


“I had been looking at Pipeline for two or three years and I couldn’t get anybody to go out. We’d seen those pinnacle rocks underneath the break . . . So, we just kept passing on it,” says filmmaker and Surfer founder John Severson. In the winter of 1960 he aggressively prodded Mike Diffenderfer to surf the place. “Diff” turned him down flat. Yet, it’s almost certain bids had been made on Pipe as early as the mid-‘50s. Pat Curren and Bob Shepherd camped at Pipe as early as ’57-’58. Rabbit Kekai says locals from Kailua challenged Pipe even earlier. Interestingly, in the generational gap between, awe of the “impossible shore break” grew—an affect that may have to do with the drowning a swimmer, but certainly enhanced by erroneous tales of the reef’s “antler coral” surface.

In his narration of “Surfing Hollow Days,” however, Bruce Brown framed up that first documented session as a discovery. Among this group of pioneers and entrepreneurs, facts often fell along party lines. If you can imagine it, the first feature exposing Pipeline in the pages of Severson’s Surfer didn’t bother to include Phil Edwards’ name.

As filmmakers, Brown and Severson competed fiercely for what usually amounted to footage of the same surfers at the same spots. That December of ’61, Mike Hynson was living with Brown and his surfing idol, Phil Edwards. According to Hynson, the three of them were checking Sunset Beach with the usual cast of North Shore surfers. “Sunset didn’t look like it was happening,” Hynson says. Jose Angel lived within earshot of Pipeline and casually let Brown know the wave in front of his place was breaking. “We kind of snuck away from Severson,” Hynson says. “I’ll never forget this: we were loading up and he called, ‘Where are you guys going?’ We said we were going to Makaha or someplace.”

Brown and his crew of surfers then drove down to Angel’s house. Clean and barreling, Pipeline broke in the eight-foot range. According to Hynson, Edwards was not as keen on surfing as Brown’s narration suggested. “Bruce had his camera out and he was making it pretty obvious that he wanted to film something. You could always tell when he was in the mood,” Hynson says.

Not all of them knew that Brown had actually filmed Edwards surfing a couple of shoulder-high waves on the reef the day before. Those piddlers were far from the feathered, A-frames breaking that afternoon with Hynson and Diffenderfer. Edwards admitted, “I don’t think I want to surf that.” Hynson remembers the 24-year-old Edwards then muttering, “Screw it,” before charging out. As soon as he reached the outside, a good-looking set began to crest, and all were stunned when Edwards wheeled around and stroked into that first wave. He angled the drop backside with a hands-out stance and navigated a shallow bottom turn. The curtain quickly caught up and the fast-moving water seemed to suck him back into the pocket. Although not nearly a tube ride by today’s standard, the harrowing feat on the lumbering longboard and inelegant fin was definitely a severe trim.

“As Phil came in, I was running for my board,” Hynson brags.

Edwards was later quoted as saying, “After that first ride I came to the beach and walked to the car. I put the board on the roof, turned around and there were three guys out.”

In fact, Brown and Edwards had brought part of the crowd with them, and Severson’s group—including George Lanning and Loren Swan—were so hot on their heels, Hynson never made the lineup alone.

Fifty Years of SURFER: The Dubious Documentation of Surfing's First Slab: "Bookmark and Share"

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Papuan Alaia Riders

A recent discovery by Bernie Higgins begs the question: how long have they been riding boards? Great food for thought and a huge find for surf history:

[ From: "Native Alaia Surfers Found in Southwestern Pacific - A Local Surfboard Builder Stumbled Upon a Tribal Surf Community Off the Coast of Papua New Guinea and Found a Native People Riding Alaia’s," May 21, 2009, at www.locallineup.com - some great photos and slideshows included ]





For the past few years, surf culture has seen a resurgence of old surfboard models, ranging from California 60’s style to ancient Hawaiian alaia’s. But while modern shapers attempt to travel the timelines of surf history, there is a remote island off the coast of Papua New Guinea that has never stopped practicing the art of riding carefully carved planks, much in the vein of the ancient Hawaiian surfboards. In Feb. 2009, Ernie Higgins, a Southern California shaper and owner of Waterlines Unlimited, stumbled upon this fascinating group of surfers when embarking on a mission trip sponsored by his church.

Without any knowledge of the surfing activities on the island, Higgins signed up to join a group of missionaries with the objective of building houses for a native people in the Southwestern Pacific, miles off the coast of Papua New Guinea. After five airplane connections and a five-hour trip on an 18ft. boat, he stepped onto a small, volcanic island, with a population of 2,000 and a people speaking its own dialect. While focused on the mission at hand, Higgins suddenly noticed a little boy, in his pre-puberty years, holding a plank, awfully similar to a surfboard. Upon close scrutiny, he was surprised to learn that not only was the lad holding a surfboard, but also that he was participating in a longstanding tradition of riding waves on the island. When Higgins asked for how long they've been riding waves, a native said, "For as long as the oldest person in the tribe can remember."

In this minute, volcanic dwelling, there has been an enduring tradition of kids carving wood into surfboards and using them to ride waves off the island’s only surf spot, a left point break with a rocky bottom and a steep section shortly after take off. Before puberty, the younglings sprint to the shoreline at the first signs of a swell, toting their alaia’s and splashing their naked bodies into the 80-degree waters. When adolescence begins to effect its changes, teenagers throw on a pair of trunks and continue to charge alongside the younger ones. But once adulthood arrives and the tribal responsibilities ring their bell, the men leave the lineup to join the island’s fishing squad and gaze at surfing as a luxury of youth.

A survey of the lineup reveals a wide range of skill levels, with some kids riding the waves on their belly, others in prone position, and still others in a straight up glide. As the wave gets ready to throw, the native surfers paddle for a diagonal take off – a move used to compensate for the lack of fins – then ride on their stomach for a short while until catching enough speed to get up on their feet, riding from then on either prone or straight up, depending on the style and skill level of the surfer at hand. Some in the group forego the last step and ride all the way in lying down.

This playful, and yet history-laden, activity is a raw demonstration of surfing’s beginnings, where bonhomie and simplicity are at the core of both the sport and the lifestyle that follows it. With virtually no land for cattle and no water supply except rain, the islanders rely solely on a limited set of produce and a selective number of animals for their diet. While fishing is their primary food source, produce (like pineapple and potatoes) complements the diet and chicken and pork are consumed as occasional luxury items. Surrounded by two other islands, each with a population of about 500, this people group speaks its own dialect, carefully utilizes the natural resources at its disposal, and playfully interacts with the waves and ocean, from which it also derives its livelihood. Despite of being thousands of miles apart and centuries of years of development away, the themes of distinctive identity, environmental conscience, and oceanic livelihood have endured through culture and time to continue to characterize much of the ethos of modern surf communities.

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Bill Bailey (1933-2009)

[ From: "Bill Bailey - Expert board builder known as the 'father' of British surfing" Obituary By Roger Mansfield, GUARDIAN, May 11, 2009 ]


Bill Bailey, who has died aged 75, played a crucial role in the development of British surfing. As a lifeguard at Newquay in Cornwall in the early 1960s, he became a pioneer surfer and expert in surfboard building, setting up the first surf company in Britain. A natural teacher, he encouraged people to follow their sporting dreams; many who congregated around his lifeguard's hut or bought his boards in those early days went on to become champion surfers, teachers, writers and surfboard builders. Bill was known by many as "the father of British surfing".

He lived in Inglesbatch, Somerset, until he joined the Royal Air Force aged 14, where he trained as an engineer and enjoyed some tropical postings, during which he developed his passion for watersports. When he left the RAF in the late 1950s, his involvement in search-and-rescue operations and love of the sea attracted him to the embryonic surf life-saving club in Newquay, where the local council had taken on several full-time lifeguards to cope with the increasing numbers of tourists on the town's beaches.

Bailey began building life-saving equipment and his first big project, in 1961, was an Australian-style hollow wooden surf-ski, designed for two lifeguards to use with paddles. He tested it, with a local life-saver, Richard Trewhela, in waves "more than two men high". They only caught one wave - but it was big enough to dwarf the 14ft-long ski as it drove an angle towards the wave-bowl, and ultimately towards the beach, pushed by a seething mountain of whitewater.

They next constructed two hollow, wooden 12ft surfboards, ostensibly for life-saving purposes, but which also allowed the first experiments in standing while riding waves. In 1962 Bailey saw the future when a visiting Californian brought a foam-and-fibreglass surfboard to Newquay. He bought it and learned to ride it, making him one of the first native surfers in Britain. In 1964 he started building boards himself from a small garage, and in 1965 he went into partnership to set up the European Surfing Company, designed to meet the demand caused by the fast-rising popularity of the sport.

The company's Bilbo surfboard brand quickly took off, and from then on Bailey would be found at the Newquay factory, shaping boards, blowing foam and designing new surf equipment. His former career as an RAF engineer had instilled in him the philosophy: "There are no problems, only solutions waiting to be found." He applied this to the developing surfing industry with fervour. He manufactured high-density polyurethane foam, created detachable fin systems and produced the first moulded surfboards; the company also marketed the first surfing wetsuits and skateboards in the UK.

In those days, Bilbo was the biggest surfing name in Britain, and also supplied boards for many of the earliest surfers in France and Ireland. At the end of the 1960s, during which he and his wife Lil had two sons, Bailey changed direction in search of new technical challenges, leaving Britain's beaches with thousands of surfers, where once there had been just a handful.

He worked for a time repairing Canberra jet bombers at RAF St Mawgan, near Newquay, and sinking shafts at Wheal Jane tin mine, near Redruth, before moving to France where he set up a factory producing polyurethane foam. Bailey and his wife then spent a long period cruising the Mediterranean on his ketch, Punch Coco. In later years they returned to live on their Cornish country property, with four generations of the Bailey clan close by. Here, Bill enjoyed the simplicity of rural life, with his workshop on site. His hobby, as a skilled gunsmith, was building hand-crafted guns and bullets.

In the last year, flush with exhilaration from an extended road trip down the west coast of north America, he succumbed to a second manifestation of cancer, this time in the liver. His response was to put his affairs in order before "the next great adventure", as he called the approach of death.

He is survived by Lil, his sons Jason and Nick and his 98-year-old father George.

• Bill (John Michael) Bailey, surfer and entrepreneur, born 27 September 1933; died 28 April 2009

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"Guardians of The Sea"

"Guardians of The Sea" explores the rich history of lifeguarding, going back to the Duke Kahanamoku and Eddie Aikau, in this tribute to Hawaii’s life savers. The film then jumps to modern day Pipeline, where skilled lifeguards protect surfers from the ocean's powerful swells...

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Darryl "Flea" Virostko

[ From: "Surfacing: After surviving the hold-down of his life, Darryl 'Flea' Virostko returns to the waves," bu Leo Maxam, SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL, 05/17/2009 ]



( Flea image courtesy of surfersvillage.com )


SANTA CRUZ - On a clear August night, Darryl Virostko got in his black Toyota Tundra and drove to Monterey's Beacon House drug rehabilitation center. The big wave surfing icon from the Westside of Santa Cruz, known to surfers worldwide simply as "Flea," made the trip in a daze.

When nurses admitted him, Virostko's blood alcohol content registered at 0.28 on the breathalyzer. A BAC of 0.30 and above is usually enough to put a person in a coma, if not flat out kill him.

It had been a week since family members and a group of his closest friends, including childhood surfing heroes Richard Schmidt and Joey Thomas, held an intervention for Virostko at Santa Cruz High. Initially he was upset, but Virostko knew the partying had gotten to be too much. Not even the three-time Maverick's Surf Contest champion could handle such an intense ride for this long.

"It got to a point where I needed it," said Virostko, adding he's now eight months sober. "I was (upset with) everyone else for doing the intervention thing, you know. I was like, '... I'm walking home.' But now I look back and I thank them."

You'd be hard-pressed to find a Maverick's surfer who's had more near-death experiences in big waves than the 37-year-old Virostko. He's been held underwater for so long post-wipeout that a second monster wave passed over and pinned him down. He's had his leash tangled in the minefield of jagged rocks just inside the peak at Mav's known as the Boneyard, trapping him like a fly in a spider's web as 10-foot surges of white water repeatedly washed over his struggling body. And he will forever be remembered in surfing lore for taking two of the most publicized and horrendous wipeouts in the sport's history. One happened at Waimea Bay during the 2004 Eddie Aikau contest and the other at Maverick's on the biggest day of last winter - possibly the biggest day ever surfed at the break.

What really separates Virostko from the rest of the pack at Maverick's, however, is his uncanny ability to shrug off such face-to-face meetings with the reaper and, within minutes, charge right back out into the maelstrom - only to drop into an even meaner wave. More often than not, he'll stick it.

"He has that 'I don't mind the consequences' attitude that you have to have," said fellow Maverick's surfer Peter Mel, a Santa Cruz big wave icon in his own right. "He's always been that way, since he was young. He always had something to prove. He has a great ability to forget about the repercussions and go for broke. Nothing sits with him. A bad wipeout, a lot of people would be haunted by that. But he can forget about it. He's able to move on from that.

"He's one of the best guys to surf big waves with," Mel added, "because you know he's gonna go. I know for me, in my career as a big wave surfer, I would never have had the success I've had if I didn't have him pushing me."

It's that fearlessness and relentless determination, combined with raw natural ability, that helped Virostko capture the first three Mavericks's titles (in 1999, 2000 and 2004), as well as the respect of every big wave rider from Hawaii to South Africa.

Virostko first surfed Maverick's, the now-famous break off Half Moon Bay's Pillar Point, in January 1992. He followed the lead of his big wave elders from Santa Cruz such as Schmidt and Vince Collier. It was Collier who gave Virostko his nickname after watching the teenage surfer streak across a middle peak set wave at Steamer Lane and joke that the pint-sized grommet - Virostko stood just 4-foot-2 at the time - looked like a tiny flea hanging onto the back of a big dog.

Once he discovered an aptitude for riding big waves, Virostko's star in the world of professional surfing rose steadily through the late '90s. By the early 2000s, it was nearly impossible to pick up a surf magazine and not find a full page ad or photo of Flea flying down the face of a Maverick's wave or punting one of his trademark aerials high above the lip.

Between lucrative sponsorship deals and the oversized cardboard checks from his wins at Maverick's, the money was flowing in. Eventually, he was able to put a down payment on his first home, just a few blocks from the points and reefs he grew up surfing. He also had a new truck and Jet Ski sitting in the driveway. When he cruised West Cliff Drive in his sparkling '65 drop top Chevy Impala, bros would wave and girls would stare. Virostko was Westside royalty.

"It was fun being a pro surfer, getting 12 grand a month, traveling the world," Virostko said. "It was pretty much just like a party. But maybe not making the best decisions. There are decisions in life that you have to be smart about, and sometimes you're not that smart when you're just having fun."


Burnout

Virostko's reputation for wild antics and a rock star lifestyle on land is almost as legendary as his performances in heavy water. Folks in Santa Cruz still talk about those early Maverick's victory parties, like the time Virostko rented multiple suites at the Dream Inn and footed the bill for a rager that would have made Ozzy Osbourne blush.

In 2002, a journalist from Vanity Fair magazine, in town to write a 12-page feature on Virostko and fellow big wave surfers Shawn "Barney" Barron, Ken "Skindog" Collins and Josh Loya, got to see firsthand what happens when the Westside boys get together for a few beers on a flat summer day. She later admitted to being "frightened" by the rowdy crew, and her Vanity Fair piece pegged Flea as the "Tommy Lee" of surfing.

The demands of the pro surfing lifestyle and all the non-surfing baggage that accompanies it began to wear on Virostko. The mundane responsibilities - trade shows, conventions, promotional tours of surf shops on the East Coast and Southern California - often involved more partying than actual water time.

"I was over being told where to surf and what to do by my sponsors," Virostko said. "I was having to do all that, so when I did come back to Santa Cruz I wanted to do what I wanted to do, not what everyone else was expecting me to do. All the crowds and this and that, I didn't want to deal with it because I deal with it around the world.

"Everyone kinda gets burned out on doing promotional things for sponsors," he added. "It involved a lot of partying and drinking. It's taxing on your body and you're supposed to be a big wave surfer in the best shape of your life. You're traveling around in a motor home in New Jersey during the summer with no waves. Yeah, it's fun. There's chicks. Everyone's partying. Team managers are buying you beers, shots, whatever to get you loosened up for these events, yet your body is so tired by the time you get home. You're pushed into situations where everyone on the trip has an alcohol problem."

In 2004, Virostko's big wave fortunes took a turn when he suffered his now-famous wipeout at Waimea Bay during the Eddie Aikau big wave contest, the last time the highly prestigious event was held. His horrendous free-fall underneath the lip of a seething 40-foot closeout appeared on the cover of surf magazines around the world and was dubbed the "wipeout of the decade" by Surfing Magazine.

Ironically, he came out of the ordeal relatively unscathed. It was a second wipeout suffered in his next heat, when Virostko tried to pull into a massive tube and got axed by the lip, that badly tweaked the ligaments in his knee. The injury kept Virostko out of the water for more than two months and prevented him from defending his three-straight titles during the Maverick's Surf Contest that same winter. Instead, he was forced to cheer from the sidelines as fellow Westsider and protege Anthony Tashnick kept the crown in Santa Cruz .

"I let him win," Flea said with a grin. "He hasn't beat me out there yet."


The Ice Storm

Ice. Crank. Crystal. Whatever you call it, methamphetamine is heavy stuff. An extremely powerful stimulant, a single hit of meth can keep a person high for 12 hours. The psychological effects are often described as producing an intense feeling of euphoria, increased endurance and a sense of invincibility. It's not so different than the dopamine-saturated rush that comes from making an air drop at heaving Maverick's. Problem is, it's just as addictive, and you don't have to wait until the buoys read 15 feet at 17 seconds to score it.

Virostko said he began using meth after the death of his uncle, Doug Virostko, in the spring of 2007. He began surfing less and partying more. Virostko's brash presence went missing from the lineups around town as he regularly passed up sessions to recover from the previous night's hangover. Some days, he would never leave the house. His profile in the surfing media, once larger than life, went missing almost completely, much to the frustration of his sponsors.

"I took my uncle's death pretty hard," he said. "Me and him are pretty similar people in the family, crazy but fun, so that kinda (messed) with me."

At the opening ceremonies for the 2007 Maverick's Surf Contest, Virostko was the last surfer to arrive. When he finally showed up, more than half an hour late, he didn't look like one of the planet's premier big wave warriors. His body was stricken with the telltale signs of heavy meth use: noticeable weight loss and a sunken face pocked with scabs. By then, Virostko had been dropped by most of his big-money sponsors. He was also struggling to keep up with his mortgage payments and would eventually be forced to sell to pay off his mounting debts.

"There was a point where basically the drugs were unmanageable. I couldn't manage my own life," he said. "They call it speed for a reason."

On the morning of the 2007 Maverick's contest, Virostko again showed up inexplicably late for his opening-round heat. He never checked in beforehand and had to be chauffeured to the lineup via Jet Ski while his fellow competitors were dropping into waves. After borrowing some wax from someone in the channel, he made it out to the peak about 10 minutes into the 45-minute heat and then proceeded to take two of the worst wipeouts of the event (he also landed a miraculous backside drop, back-dooring the left on the biggest wave of the heat). Virostko finished last in his heat and bailed soon after. During the rest of the day's action and the awards ceremony, he was nowhere to be found.

"There was a period in the last year where we didn't see him holding down the fort at the Lane and at the Ave.," Mel said. "But he knew he had to be out on the big days (at Maverick's). I wouldn't say he was on point at all. Dec. 4 (2007, on the biggest swell of the season) he took two of the most heavy wipeouts of anyone I've ever seen. I thought he was going to die. I think he would even tell you he wasn't on point. I was scared for my friend's life - I was scared for myself, too, that day. But there were days there where he was out there and he wasn't in his normal state and I was scared for him, not stoked for him."


Flea-hab

Even though he didn't surf in the 2008 Cold Water Classic at Steamer Lane , Virostko still managed to create some of the biggest buzz of the weeklong contest (the biggest story, of course, was 17-year-old local boy Nat Young becoming the youngest winner in the event's history). During the middle rounds of the Cold Water, a recently sober Virostko was invited up to the announcer's booth to add some color to the broadcast over the loud speakers. To the surprise of everyone - from local surfers to industry big wigs on hand for Northern California's premier surf contest - Virostko spoke openly about his battle with drug addiction and his time in rehab. He thanked Santa Cruz wetsuit pioneer Jack O'Neill for helping get him into the Beacon House and announced that he was rededicating himself 100 percent to big wave surfing. Virostko's candor shocked even good friend Ryan Buell, who was part of the commentary team for the live webcast that afternoon.

"It was a huge moment for him," Buell said, "because the first step to recovery is talking about it. I was stoked he was doing it and not hiding it anymore. The great part was that we were doing the live webcast and the e-mails started coming in rapid fire from all over from people showing their support, saying 'Right on Flea.' I think it was liberating for him to see the support online and know he's doing the right thing. ... Everybody's excited at the prospect of a healthy Flea charging Mav's again."

Virostko said the time was right to let out the demons of his past.

"Basically I have nothing to hide," Virostko said. "This is a true story. This is what happened. I'm not blaming it on anyone except for myself. I decided to do all those things that I thought were good at the time, and I got hurt. I fell off cliffs. I could have died a couple of times. I should have died ... I kinda blew it, you know. I probably could have done better in my surfing career if I took it more seriously. ..."

Virostko is the first to admit it's a daily struggle to avoid slipping back into the familiar saddle of addiction. But he's hoping that by helping others, he can also help himself. Virostko is currently working with Schmidt, the Santa Cruz big wave legend and longtime surf camp operator, and O'Neill to create a new drug rehab program in Santa Cruz specifically designed for surfers and other outdoor athletes. Virostko hopes to work as a drug counselor at the center and lead healthy, outdoor activities for patients, including surfing, camping and fishing trips and mountain biking treks.

"We want to open this rehab for the surfers and the athletes that care about their body and their sport and are having problems with alcohol and drugs. I was trying to find a place where you could surf all day and still get clean," he said. "But I couldn't find it. I didn't want to go to the Beacon House where I couldn't surf and had to sit around all day. And this is a place that's going to be a full-on fun, active program. It's Flea-hab. It's gonna be fun.

"It's something that would help me stay busy. ... I don't want to use drugs. I don't want to drink anymore. Because I'm tired of it. I'm finished. This will keep me busy, definitely, to help people out. If people can take it from me, I know exactly - the drugs did exactly what they were supposed to do. They worked. I'm just fortunate to get out of it without any felonies, without any DUIs, without killing someone. And I still have my physical health. That's the main thing."

Virostko is also determined to reclaim his position at the pinnacle of the big wave surfing totem pole. Just eight months out of rehab, his body is still a far cry from the chiseled physique of his prime and his weathered face reflects a couple years' worth of heavy methamphetamine abuse. At one point during the height of his partying days he had lost nearly 15 pounds. While he's gained back most of the weight, he still has some work to do to regain the physical conditioning of his youth.

But Virostko thrives on being pegged the underdog. This is the defiant charger who swept the first three Maverick's contests. The kid from Santa Cruz who beat the mighty Kelly Slater at the second Quiksilver Men Who Ride Mountains event - not just once but in all three heats of the contest, including the final. To this day no other surfer in the world can claim such a heat record versus Slater, who heaped praise upon Virostko after the final, saying: "I've surfed the biggest waves with the best surfers in the world, and this guy charges as hard as any of them."

Today, the intensity in Virostko's face has returned. The hunger is there. He's surfing every day. He's following a healthy diet. He's moved to Ben Lomond with his girlfriend and three dogs, Mija, Riddle and Passion, to "get away from my wreckage." Virostko surfed Maverick's twice this winter - on the only two legitimate Mav's swells that came through - including the Nov. 30 "Turkey Day" swell, which saw some of the largest, cleanest paddle-in Mav's in years. He managed to nail a handful of heavy drops.

"He's already proved himself several times over," said Mel. "He will always have his space in the lineup and in the contest if he wants it. Right now, to see him back, I'm just stoked to have my friend back in the lineup."

Getting out and attacking waves has Virostko feeling like a kid again.

"I probably feel better than I've ever felt physically and mentally in my whole life," Virostko said. "Those first three wins at Maverick's, that's how I feel now. I was a kid, I was surfing every day, I was clean. I was just high on life. High on being able to be paid to surf, you know. Stoked to be surfing huge waves. And I feel like that now."

Surfacing: After surviving the hold-down of his life, Darryl 'Flea' Virostko returns to the waves - Santa Cruz Sentinel

Ron Stoner Scrapbook

A scrapbook of some of the great photos Ron Stoner shot during the 1960s are at the Surfing Heritage Foundation:

SHF: Ron Stoner Scrapbook



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History in 2.5 Minutes

Surf history (3000 YBP to 90 YBP) in 2 and a half minutes... Some factual errors, but basically true:

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ALEXANDER HUME FORD





Aloha and welcome to this chapter of Volume 2 of LEGENDARY SURFERS.

Alexander Hume Ford (1868-1945) is remembered as the guy who turned Jack London on to surfing; the promoter of George Freeth, Duke Kahanamoku, and of Hawai‘i, itself.

Most significantly, Alexander Hume Ford is best remembered by us surfers as a founder of the Outrigger Canoe Club; a man who – more than most anyone of his time – helped revive Hawaiian surfing, spreading it around the world.

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ALEXANDER HUME FORD


Additional Resources:




















ALEXANDER HUME FORD

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