Californian surf legend involved in “bizarre and tragic” episode after woman leaps from 300-foot cliff following hit-and-run accident!

CHP investigators said the woman either “fell or jumped.”

Ever try to kill a flea? Ain’t easy. Whack it with a phone book, flame it with a cigarette lighter, flick it with your finger, firehose it with DDT.

Don’t work.

That is also true for Darryl “Flea” Virostko, a big wave surfer from Santa Cruz who was determined to drown himself anywhere in the Pacific Ocean during the Roaring 90s.

Flea was part of the Santa Cruz “Vermin” crew – Skindog, Barney, Ratboy, Condor – who were Pied Pipered to Mavericks by Vince Collier, and who wanted to pay homage to surfers like Jeff Clark and Richard Schmidt who pioneered the place by charging hard at one of the most dangerous waves in the world.

The zeitgeist to Flea and his westside brethren was simple: “Go now, ask questions later.”

And that is what Flea did, from Mavericks to Waimea, launching himself into some of the biggest waves ridden at the time, but also some of the most horrendous wipeouts.

Virostko survived substance problems, enjoying meth and acid at some length although he was hardly Robinson Crusoe around Santa Cruz in that regard, and some pretty wild beatings in the Pacific Ocean to emerge butterfly like and become a daddy etc.

Now, according to Santa Cruz news outlets, on January 10 a lady rear-ended Flea on Highway One, and then she rocked over to the cliff, jumped in the ocean and drowned.


According to Amy Larson on

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) — A bizarre and tragic crash involving a former professional big wave surfer unfolded on Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz Monday.

A 40-year-old woman was driving a Honda Accord when she collided into a Toyota Tundra driven by surfer Darryl “Flea” Virostko, according to investigators.

The two-vehicle collision happened at 9 a.m. in the northbound lanes of Highway 1 near upper Swanton Road.

“After the collision, both vehicles pulled to the shoulder. The woman driving the Honda reportedly exited the vehicle, crossed the highway, and walked towards the cliff overlooking the ocean,” the California Highway Patrol wrote.

Witnesses saw the woman plummet down a 300-foot cliff. CHP investigators said the woman either “fell or jumped.”
The U.S. Coast Guard deployed a helicopter and water rescue team. The woman died before rescuers could lift her out of the water.

Virostko told KRON4 Monday evening that he is OK.

The CHP is investigating the collision. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office is investigating what happened immediately after the crash.

CHP officers said they classified the crash as a “hit-and-run” because the woman technically left the scene on foot before she went over the cliff.

A mystery wrapped in neoprene: Why did the woman rear-end Flea? How fast was she going? Why did the woman jump into the ocean?

Even more mysterious: Where along Highway One can someone pull a Kim Novak into the ocean?

The woman’s name was not released. The CHP said she lived in Santa Cruz.

Okay so it was near Upper Swanton Road. so that means the accident happened around Greyhound Rock, which means the woman walked a couple hundred feet across a field to the edge of the cliff… and jumped.

Real odd.


Big Wave Ben.
Big Wave Ben.

YouTube sensation Ben Gravy invited to surf Oregon’s premier big wave event Nelscott Reef Pro; legends Ben Wilkinson, Grant “Twiggy” Baker selected as alternates!

Buy low, sell high.

Oh. Here’s Ben Gravy. I was just now wondering where they YouTube sensation, most popular surfer in the world was as a tsunami steamed toward the west coast of these United States. Thinking about the hits he would receive from a soft topped tidal wave session but the New Jersey star has his hands more than full as it was just announced that he is an invitee to Oregon’s premier big wave event.

The Nelscott Reef Pro.

Nelscott Reef, which bubbles off Lincoln City in the Beaver State’s north, is a cold water monster. According to the website, “On the biggest days of the season, Nelscott Reef breaks about a mile offshore. The massive open ocean swells are generated during the winter months. Coming primarily from the northwest and westward direction, these storms produce wave heights in the 30′ – 50′ dance once they hit the outer reef with some occasional crazy swells maxing out in the 60′-70′ range.”

This years list of hellmen/women includes the likes of Jamie Sterling, Luca Padua and Justine Dupont.

And Ben Gravy.

Ben Wilkinson, Pat Shaughnessy and Grant “Twiggy” Baker are alternates.

What do you think the betting line is for Gravy to take the win?

Will he ride a soft top?

Buy low, sell high.

Red alert.
Red alert.

All Orange County beaches closed after South Pacific volcano eruption releases potentially deadly Tsunami!

Red alert.

All Orange County, California beaches are closed this morning in the midst of a historically fantastic run of surf as a potentially deadly tsunami is making its way east from the South Pacific.

The tsunami, or “harbor wave” in Japanese, was unleashed near Tonga when a large underwater volcano exploded, setting off earthquakes and showering the island with ash.

Japan instantly released a harbor wave warning for its islands, “Japan’s Meteorological Agency has issued a tsunami warning for the southern Amami island and Tokara island chain in Kagoshima Prefecture and a tsunami advisory for all coastal areas facing the Pacific Ocean. A three-meter tsunami is expected to reach Japan following an undersea volcanic eruption off the Pacific nation of Tonga.”

Laguna Beach, and the rest of Orange County, were quick to follow suit, declaring, “A tsunami advisory has been issued by the National Tsunami Warning Center for the Orange County coast. All beaches and boardwalks are closed until further notice – please stay out of the water and away from the shore.”

Scary but…

…where’s Ben Gravy?

More as the story develops.

"I don't want 2 doses nor do I want a booster."
"I don't want 2 doses nor do I want a booster."

Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa trouble takes another wild turn as authorities re-deny entry and detain him thereby pounding nail into Kelly Slater’s 12th World Title hopes!

Formal inquiry on the way?

When history looks back upon the 2019 – Covid years, tennis star Novak Djokovic’s attempt to play in Melbourne will be a defining chapter.

The Serbian flew to Australia, well over a week ago, after the country’s tennis association promised him a waver as he is unvaccinated. Prime Minister Scott Morrison saw this as an affront to his constituents being locked into their homes early and often so denied the visa. Djokovic’s team fought back, telling a judge that he did not have to be vaccinated since he had recently had the disease. The judge agreed and his visa was given back until today when Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, ripped it up again and detained Djokovic in a cell ahead of a hearing that will likely see him forcibly evicted.

According to The Guardian, “The Djokovic visa snub was released in time for the main TV news bulletins on Friday and, they had hoped, late enough to limit the tennis champ’s lawyers chances of getting a judge to re-hear his case. While that hope proved unfounded, the government believes a court could only examine the probity of immigration minister Alex Hawke’s use of his power to withdraw a visa, not whether Djokovic deserved to be punted. However, the damage to Australian tourism and Australian sport caused by a single, stubborn tennis player and a hesitant federal government could require a formal inquiry to sort out.”

Even more damage has been done, though, to Kelly Slater’s 12th World Title campaign.

The world’s greatest surfer, too, has been vocal about his vaccine skepticism. With Djokovic re-receiving capital punishment, and possibly unable to re-enter Australia for three years, it is highly unlikely that Slater will be able to compete in the Australian leg of the Championship Tour this April.

No Bells.

No Margaret.

And while, theoretically, he could use those as his throw aways, it will not make his pathway to glory any easier.

12 fading before our very eyes.


Two young dreamers achieve international fame after being excoriated by North Shore lifeguard for trying to surf apocalyptic Pipeline: “Are you kidding me, where you at? You even know where you’re going?”

Metaphorically rich.

Oahu’s North Shore, as you know, has come very much to life during the past two weeks. Swell event after swell event pulsing and pounding the most seven miles in surfing’s pantheon. There have been spectacular rides, like Balaram Stack’s 11 at Da Hui Backdoor Shootout, like Anthony Walsh’s massive POV pit, but two young dreamers, tourists, have out-famed them all with their clip going mainstream viral.

The scene is set when a North Shore lifeguard, sitting classically on the iconic red quad, calls after two tourist boys, maybe upper teens, maybe lower twenties, saying, “Get over here. Why not? Are you fu*king kidding me? The white guy told you no he told me why not. Are you kidding me? Where are you at? You even know where you’re going?”

One of the boys answers “Pipeline.”

“Yeah where? You guys are ready for Pipeline? Nah, you’re not ready for Pipeline. Get out of here. You guys aren’t going out here. You guys can go. Not here.”

The boys attempt to plead their case, relatively meekly, setting the lifeguard right off.

It is a beautiful moment, staged beautifully, and the mainstream press is rightly appreciating with the San Francisco Chronicle calling it “inspired” and USA Today declaring it “metaphorically rich.”

But have you ever been told off by a lifeguard?

Did you listen?

For shame.

David Lee Scales and I discussed this clip during our weekly chat and about many other surf adjacent things.

Enjoy here.