Big Daytona. Photo: Surfline
Big Daytona. Photo: Surfline

72-year-old Florida surfer loses life as Hurricane Lee pushes potential “100+ foot wave” toward eastern seaboard

Big Daytona.

Hurricane Lee, massive and wild, slowly churning in the Caribbean as a Category 3, has been on surfers minds for days. Last week, we learned that the beast might just push 100+ foot waves to Florida, exciting Garrett McNamara, Laird Hamilton and others who have made their names riding giants.

At that time, the storm was located some 650 miles off shore with crazy sustained winds and a big mean eye.

Now, Hurricane Lee is still out in the Atlantic, though has taken a northern turn striking fear, or envy, into the hearts of New Englanders who might just receive surf magazine cover-worthy bombs.

“On the forecast track, the center of Lee will pass west of Bermuda Thursday and Thursday night and then approach the coast of New England or Atlantic Canada late this week,” according to the hurricane center.

Still, while the generally placid waters off of Florida’s east coast didn’t necessarily rise to the occasion, they did become extremely dangerous, all rip currenty and nasty, even claiming the life of a 72-year-old charger seeking infamy.

According to Florida authorities, a Daytona Beach lifeguard spotted the man when he was about 100 yards away and became concerned when she noticed he had become “disconnected” from his board. She raced out to him though he became unresponsive once arriving to his side.

“He was removed from the water by multiple lifeguards,” Volusia County Beach Safety said in the statement. “Medical interventions were started,” though the measures were not effective and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

That was one of four cases of surfers being caught in rip currents and needing assistance.

Rip currents don’t have nearly the shine of a 100+ foot wave and it feels like Florida got ripped off on this one.

But back to New England?

Will heroes rise?

More as the story develops.

World’s most feared surf gang The Wolfpak destroyed by OxyContin says former member, “They had a pharmacist living in the house giving them huge prescriptions!”

"It turned everybody against each other, turned the most solid friend group ever in surfing into a shitshow.” 

The former tour surfer, pro MMA fighter, activist and one-time member of Pipe regulatory unit The Wolfpak, Dustin Barca, has revealed how that troupe of Kauai surfers came to rule, briefly, Pipeline only to collapse under the strain of drug addiction. 

Barca, who is forty-one, was barely out of his teens when the Wolfpak formed at the turn of the century, and says he was the gang’s “little hitman” who’d be sent down the beach to deal with various offenders by co-founder and world jiujitsu champ Kai “Kaiborg” Garcia. 

“They used to make me fight people on the beach,” Barca tells the QuiverCast. “If somebody burned one of the boys, like, Kaiborg would tell me, you better go pound that guy right now or I’m going to pound you. I’d be, like, fuuuuuuck, then I’d have to go down and fucking smoke the guy on the beach or wait for him to come up.” 

His justification was simple.

“If you drop in on someone on a ten-foot wave at Pipeline it’s like attempted murder. That’s where it is today, a shitshow where there’s no authority out there. It’s just like anybody from anywhere can go out there and paddle around the locals and catch the wave of the day and nobody does anything about it… what we did was we created a rule system. It made everybody realise that they were at someone else’s home and they should take off their shoes in their home.”

And then came OxyContin, legalised heroin, a wildly addictive painkiller with its ability create an insanely intense euphoria. The pharmaceutical industry’s aggressive marketing of OxyContin in the late 1990s and early 2000s played a significant role in its widespread abuse. Misleading claims about the drug’s safety and low risk of addiction contributed to its over-prescription and the subsequent rise in addiction rates.

You know the story. Tens of thousands of deaths, lives, families, entire towns, even generations ruined. 

Read, The Family That Built an Empire of Pain from the New Yorker and learn what a ruthless game the Sackler family played. 

Barca says the Wolfpak collapsed when “a large number of my friends got hooked on drugs and they had a pharmacist living in the house with them giving everybody huge prescriptions of OxyContin. It was a bad scene. I never did drugs since I was young cause I almost died. All my friends who Coke or whatever, they all started snorting OxyContins and it turned everybody against each other, turned the most solid friend group ever in surfing into a shitshow.” 

Barca laughs but he don’t think it’s funny.

“Fucking OxyContin’s heroin, you know. So, all your life revolves around surfing and having fun and then your life revolves around getting high. It’s a whole ‘nother world. Everyone went from focussing on surfing and having a good time together to all everybody cared about was finding a fucking pill.” 

Listen here. 

And spend a day with Barca at home, here.

Wright (pictured) and what should have been. Photo: WSL
Wright (pictured) and what should have been. Photo: WSL

World’s most brutalized surfer Tyler Wright suffers yet another indignity as potential third title violently ripped from her trembling hands!

An entire system called "life" invented to torture the beleaguered Australian.

No surfer walking the face of the earth, past, present or future, has ever suffered like Tyler Wright. From her father forcing her to learn how to ride warm water waves to sponsor Rip Curl paying her millions of dollars to twin world championships then marriage to her beloved wife, the 29-year-old has had it bad.

Wright, who properly came out as gay to much fanfare in 2020 when she decided to sport the famous pride flag on her singlet, declared at the time, “I don’t want to say I was hiding before, but now I am encouraged enough to lean into who I am. I’m not scared to say, ‘Look, this is what I stand for.’ I want to show others that surfing can be a welcoming space for LGBTQ+ athletes.”

Just prior, she had endured debilitating chronic fatigue.

Just after, sapping menstrual cramps.

All in all a string of rottenness no class, from Russian serfs to African slaves, has had to brave.

The worst of all indignities, though, was just ladled upon her bowed crown.

A stripping of the 2023 World Surf League championship tour title. Rightfully hers before a purposefully marginalizing change in format.

Common knowledge had it that the trophy would have been Carissa Moore’s without the manufactured introduction of “Finals Day” wherein the year’s results are thrown out and Lower Trestles becomes the biggest test on earth. The Hawaiian gold medalist was robbed last year when Steph Gilmore stormed from fifth to first. Then, she had enough points at season’s end to win without even competing if normalcy was allowed.

This year, it was assumed she was first as well, as she came in wearing yellow.

Wright, for her part, was second wearing… to be honest, I can’t remember. Green?

Alas, it was a mirage.

An eagle-eye’d surf fan wrote in with the truth, just hours ago, sharing via Instagram:

Hi Chas, I can’t get on your BeachGrit comments section so would just like to have a say here about the Carissa Moore scenario and the one day WSL Final fiasco. I agree that last year Carissa had an unassailable lead going into the finals day. So yes, Title #6. But she was overrun by Gilmore and Gilmore gained her 7th Title leaving Moore on 5.

2023 a bit different. Applying the ‘old system’ of best 8 results from 10 events it adds up that Tyler Wright (with 59,455 pts) would have taken the 2023 crown, Carissa 2nd ( 57,745) and Caroline 3rd.

Therefore using the old system , Steph and Layne with 7 titles each, Carissa has 6 and Tyler up one to 3.
Using the new format, Steph 8, Layne 7, Carissa 5 and Caroline 1.

I wish people would look a bit deeper into the numbers and compare.

There we have it.

An entire system called “life” invented to torture poor Tyler Wright.


Victim in repose.
Victim in repose.

New husband paralyzed due ultra-rare Surfer’s Myelopathy while on honeymoon in Hawaii

A nasty curse strikes again.

Two years ago, or such, we all learned of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Surfer’s Myelopathy. The ultra-rare disease, a hyperextension of the T10 vertebrae, causes paralysis without even a bonk on the back, just regular ol’ paddling and popping. Reason 312 to quit surfing, immediately.

Last time, the nasty condition befell a handsome young Las Vegas man on vacation to Hawaii. The 18-year-old had gone surfing, a lifelong dream, but, “Within that first or second wave, I noticed my lower back was starting to feel tense. Soon as I touched the sand, my legs pretty much just gave out.”

Surfer’s Myelopathy.


Now, it is being reported that an Atlanta man, in Honolulu for his honeymoon, suffered the same ugly fate. According to local media, Brendan Town, 32, was on the the island celebrating marriage to his wife Cho Park, by surfing. Afterward, it is said he had a “mild discomfort” in his back that quickly devolved to full paralysis.

He has been in the hospital for weeks, getting released yesterday. “My goal is to be able to withstand the 8-9 hour flight back home by the end of this week,” he wrote on a GoFundMe. “Once back home I will be starting inpatient physical therapy that will help expedite the process of my healing and being able to walk again.”

Walking is possible, again, with the surfers’ curse and hopefully Town will be able to overcome but man…

Does it make you think twice about paddling?

Or at least paddling in Hawaii?

Probably should, TBH.

Surfline forecasting team (pictured). Photo: Revenge of the Nerds
Surfline forecasting team (pictured). Photo: Revenge of the Nerds

Historically important liberal American magazine publishes steamy expose on forecasting giant Surfline!

"A single website has a choke hold on surfing..."

The World Surf League’s 2023 Championship Tour is now in the rearview and along with it all the flotsam and jetsam of professional surfing at its highest level. Bailey Ladders, Candy Crushes, Jessi Miley-Dyer’s increasingly “cry-for-help” fashion choices, the ghost of Erik Logan, mid-season culls, suspect forecasts and lousy waves.

The penultimate in that incomplete list came courtesy of Surfline, the World Surf League’s official forecasting partner, and the Huntington Beach-based website has had quite a few years. From absorbing Magic Seaweed, getting a $30 million dollar infusion from The Chernin Group to the recent sudden departure of a visionary CEO and seeming pivot away from fresh ideas, Surfline has been on a ride.

No space in our cloister is as polarizing as Surfline, some enjoying, others hate-using, others still just hating. The heat growing so hot that even The Atlantic felt the warmth and touched with bare hands. In a just-published expose, steamy, the historically important liberal American magazine asked a who’s who of relevant surf players, including Matt Warshaw, William Finnegan and “grumpier critics” in an attempt to discern if the tool is a “this big kind of evil corporation.”

A brief description of Surfline leads into concerns about post-pandemic overcrowding and Surfline’s “strangle hold” on forecasting’s role in the mess.

Head forecaster Kevin Wallis, a name very familiar amongst surf aficionados, is consulted and attempts to puncture rumors that untrue forecasts are purposefully delivered and that Surfline employees turn off cameras near their favorite breaks in order to minimize crowds.

“There’s a real sense of responsibility,” he said. “It would be terrible for our business model to do anything but our absolute best in providing people with the most accurate information.”

The whispers are left at that.

At the end, Finnegan stands up for Surfline, declaring, “I live in Manhattan, and I do not know how we surfed from here without Surfline. There are really good waves within an hour of New York City. But you really, really have to nail it.”

Warshaw too, adding, “The whole history of surf is taking advantage of everything you can to surf better to get more waves. If you’re in the ocean, that’s all that counts.”


Surfline Man was, somehow, not consulted.

Read in entirety here.