Lyon Herron, dead at 31
One week before his death Lyon Herron wrote, "I’m so comfortable with the end of this life’s journey that I honestly am welcoming the end with open arms. I don’t want anyone to mourn me when I pass, but to celebrate the life that I lived. I am so blessed and so grateful for the life that I’ve had, I’ve been living on borrowed time for a very long time now and now it’s my souls time to move on."

Miki Dora-esque Malibu icon Lyon Herron, dead at 31

“My baby traded in his broken body for golden wings this morning at 11:27am”

A little over one week ago, the wildly stylish Malibu surfer Lyon Herron wrote a moving goodbye message to friends, to family and to anyone that’d ever spun in his orbit. 

I’ve made the decision to move palliative care to hospice care, the suffering and pain has just gotten past the point of being able to handle. For those of you that know me, know that I have a very unique connection with death. I’ve been so close to it so many times and have literally been told that I wasn’t going to make it through the night more times that I can count. I’m so comfortable with the end of this life’s journey that I honestly am welcoming the end with open arms. I don’t want anyone to mourn me when I pass, but to celebrate the life that I lived. I am so blessed and so grateful for the life that I’ve had, I’ve been living on borrowed time for a very long time now and now it’s my souls time to move on. I’m doing it the natural way so who knows how long it will take but I want to thank each and everyone one of you for keeping me going through the toughest of times. Like I said, I am blessed. I love you all from the bottom of my heart and will always be here as a guardian angel to my loved ones. It’s not goodbye, it’s just see you soon. So excited to finally get to see my uncles who have passed before me. Adios friends.

“Your love for humans and your passion for life is so inspiring and is spreading into so many of us. Thank you for sharing your journey and your love. You’re a miracle,” wrote Griffin Colapinto.

Mama to John John, Ivan and Nathan, Alex Florence, wrote: “Thank you Lyon for letting us get to know you a little and showing us true bravery…my heart is so sad reading this.. I don’t have the right words to express.. just want you to know our family is truly grateful to have witnessed such courage and love. A Hui Hou.”

Lyon Herron fought one hell of a battle. Lyon was seven when he was diagnosed with Gardner Syndrome, “a rare, inherited condition where people develop hundreds and sometimes thousands of abnormal growths in their large and small intestines. These growths, called polyps, are noncancerous at first, but some have an almost 100% chance of becoming cancerous.”

A GoFundMe page set up to help ease the cost of his myriad treatments (35k of a needed 75k was raised) detailed his long trial.

It read in part:


Since November 1st, 2019, Lyon has spent 485 days at Cedars Sinai hospital dealing with an intestinal fistula (hole in his intestine), inter-abdominal abscesses, very aggressive fast growing desmoid tumors wrapped around his small intestine and mesenteric artery, sepsis, edema, low hemoglobin and so much more. Since this is the height of the pandemic, he spends most of his admissions in the hospital alone, with no visitors allowed.

In January of 2022 during a procedure to put a new clamp on the fistula, he aspirated in post-op recovery, so his lungs filled up to 80% with vomit and acidic fluid. He was placed into a medically induced coma and put on life support because his lungs started to fail. The doctors gave him a 20% chance of waking up, and miraculously with the prayers of a strong community behind him, within 3 days he started to make a remarkable come back, and within a week after being placed in a coma, he woke up.

Since then, it’s been a long and difficult road to recovery, and although he takes a couple steps forward, if feels like he always takes 3 steps back. He’s been approved for disability, and although he gets a small, subsidized amount to help with living and medical expenses, it’s still not enough to make sure he’s living with no monetary fear. We hope that we can take away any fear of getting by monetarily while he focuses on healing and recovering his body. 

BeachGrit readers would’ve immediately been reminded of late commenter Sean Mitchell aka Offrocker’s words as he, too, prepared himself for his “medieval ordeal.

“Surfing has taught me to not be greedy with my expectations, to take opportunities as they present themselves, to fight and hunt, and the capacity to dine out on those very few peak moments for weeks and months – and that’s just what I need now to get me through this medieval ordeal. I might be dying, but I’m not quitting,” wrote Sean, who died of colon cancer aged thirty-six, three years ago. 

Four days ago, Barbie, Lyon Herron’s mama, posted.

Last night I woke up from a dream that I did not want to forget so I wrote it down immediately.

I was waiting for lyon to get out of the shower and I suddenly became weightless like there was an energy that took over me. For a split second I had this fear but then I knew my brothers had something to do with it so I surrendered and became weightless. I danced around the room floating from floor to ceiling with the most beautiful blue light energy trailing me and within me. There was one person sitting on the floor in the room and I danced too close to her and felt the gravity free energy dissipate. I had this smile of warmth in my soul and calm in my body. It was heavenly.

I knew then as Lyon was exiting the shower – but it was as if he was coming out of the ocean instead of the shower- that I was suppose to guide him to that blue light I just embodied. I saw it swirling around us. I caught him as he fell into my arms and I told him to let the light find him and that it was safe and ok and right then he closed his eyes and smiled with a sense of calm and peace then I heard the angels. It was the most beautiful celestial orchestra I’ve ever heard. I can’t even put it into words. As he lay in my arms, I felt his energy shift into the blue light and leave his body as the smile remained.

I just woke up and was still hearing the angels sing.

I needed to write this down so I don’t forget but I know this was heaven giving me a glimpse of what’s to come so that I can help guide him through this portal. This was the full circle moment of my mama journey with him.

Just checked on him… he’s still breathing 🙏🏼

Written at 1:05am

I shared this with him this morning. We are ready for the beautiful blue light.


Earlier today, his mama broke the news her boy Lyon Herron had died.

My baby traded in his broken body for golden wings this morning at 11:27am.

I need a moment to process it all because honestly, I’m not sure how to do life without him.

My mama heart is shattered but at the same time resting in peace with his knowing that the suffering died alongside body.

Thank you all for sharing your tremendous hearts with us.

Again, a roll call of surfing identities sent their condolences including, again, Alex Florence.

“Sending you so much love .. mother to mother,” wrote Alex. “Rest in peace Lyon . we will forever be touched by your sweet spirit!

Chas Smith, Nick Carroll and Sports Illustrated AI bot
"Devastatingly realistic AI-generated avatars walk among us. Some borrow accredited human bylines to produce their work. Others are seemingly concocted from scratch; their entire online existence only a facsimile of a shadow of a soul’s echo." But can you pick what is real and what isn't?

Surf journalism in crisis as tight-knit community “infiltrated by insentient, ethically-blind copy farmers”

"Before, there was a general consensus that surf stories were at least written by real human beings. No more!"

Revelations that Surfer magazine and its parent company The Arena group are employing AI bots to both curate and write content have rocked the tight-knit surf journalist community to its core.

What was once a proud, well-respected profession of learned scholars and literary giants has been infiltrated by insentient, ethically-blind copy farmers.

While the last decade or so has seen a rise in Nick Carroll’s “new sarcasm” generation, many hiding behind anonymous handles and pseudonyms to produce morally spurious content, there was a general consensus that the articles they were producing were at least written by real human beings.

But now, devastatingly realistic AI-generated avatars walk among us. Some borrow accredited human bylines to produce their work. Others are seemingly concocted from scratch; their entire online existence only a facsimile of a shadow of a soul’s echo.

This is to say there is now an existential crises among the international surf journalist scene. No longer do writers congregate in small editorial offices where they can smell, taste, touch their comrades. The world is now so dispersed, that many writers may go their entire career yet never even meet each other in the flesh.

Furtive glances shoot back and forth the digital divide amongst even well-established scribes as to who is real, who is not.

Indeed, some are so contorted, so self-consumed, they may even be questioning their own existence.

To answer this fundamental question, a new approach is required.

You may remember the Voight-Kampff test from the science fiction classic Bladerunner. It is set in a near-future dystopia where androids live amongst humans, indistinguishable only to the most discerning of eyes. In it, the The Voigt-Kampff Empathy Test is designed to determine androids from humans by articulating the subject’s ability to empathize; something still impossible for the artificial mind.

I propose here a similar test, designed to specifically target the surf journalist community, and determine once and for all which were born kicking and screaming into this world and which were created on a desktop somewhere in Silicon Valley.

A sample of questions below. Do you dream of electric sheep?

Question: You are offered a full-time writing position with a well-known surfing publication. It is secure, cushy, and handsomely remunerated. However, it does require you to forego certain editorial liberties when it comes to particular sponsors and surfers.

Do you:

A. Refuse the offer and tell the bastards they’ll prise your independence from your cold, dead, amyl-nitrate stained hands; before reneging and re-accepting soon after receiving your next child support bill.

B. Accept the offer as long as you’re allowed to do key bumps before zoom meetings.

C. Accept the offer as long as you’re allowed to meet Gerry Lopez.

D. All of the above

Question: you receive an anonymous tip-off that the parent company of the publication you write for is bankrolling the development of a major hotel-marina in a developing country that will result in the destruction of a once-secret heaving reef slab. Keeping silent will mean you have to betray various moral and ethical boundaries you had committed to when you first became a surf journalist, but reporting the story will mean you lose your job.

Do you:

A. Write the story, only to have it withheld at the last minute by a former friend who is now the COO of the mooted project. You have a fist fight at the hotel bar in front a group of bewildered tourists, blood flying across the room like a sprinkler under the summertime sun, before he finally forces you to sign an NDA feat. a handsome hush payment. You walk back to your hotel room, spitting crimson shaded teeth onto the tastefully-tiled walkway, wondering what your life has become, before immediately booking a four week trip to the Ments and three new Arakawas.

B. Withhold the story, accept shares in the new development, and marry one of the local women because at least they know how to treat a man right. Also, what’s an ethical boundary?

C. Not even consider doing the story, and instead write an article promoting the development titled ‘Top 5 outdoor sports for when the ocean waves are flat.’ Also, what’s a heaving reef slab?

D. All of the above

Question: You’re offered an opportunity to surf in Kelly Slater’s new Dubai Wave Pool as an official guest of the UAE government.

Do you:

A. Tell that shiny-headed dilettante that he can take his environment-destroying, civil-liberty-depriving wavepool and shove it up his arse; without admitting you’re actually just scared of bogging a rail on your first turn.

B. Accept and wonder if this means you can now take on a harem.

C. Accept, as long as he can keep it on the intermediate setting.

D. All of the above.

If you answered:

Mostly A) You are indeed a living, breathing, grizzled surf journalist. You are free to continue raging against the machine while turning a blind eye where needed; your life a booze and pill-festooned monument to compromise. Hey, at least you still have that novel to work on.

Mostly B) You’re the best kind of surf journalist: an industry-embracing, grammar-eschewing advertorial hack who either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about journalistic integrity. And why should you? It’s just fucken surfing after all. Ignorance is bliss.

Mostly C) You are an insentient, asinine, malignant copy-bot. Artificial unintelligence. The harbinger of humanity’s downfall. Or you might just work for The Inertia. Please report to me for further testing to determine where there’s a difference between the two.

Mostly D) You are Matt George. Keep shining bright, you crazy animal.

Hawaiian (left) upending conventional wisdom (right) with bountiful island snow (bottom right).
Hawaiian (left) upending conventional wisdom (right) with bountiful island snow (bottom right).

Climate change science thrown on head as surf-blessed Hawaii receives more snow than New York, Boston combined!

"Hey everyone! I'm currently visiting the islands, and I've noticed an abundance of ridiculously lifted pickup trucks."

It times back, the weather was a solidly safe holiday dinnertime conversation. Unlike politics or religion, the sun shining, or not, clouds raining, or not was a simple matter of observance. Easy. Clean. No longer. Any mention of the elements, these days, will ignite the table into full civil war. Daughter yelling at mother that the government is seeding the skies with chemicals. Son yelling at uncle to shut his gross polluting mouth.

Very uncomfortable.

The two broad camps, of course, are those who believe man is changing the environment through his consumption of fossil fuels and those who believe earth gonna earth and our smoking cigarettes etc. doesn’t make a dent.

The polite society thing to profess is, of course, the former except new details from Hawaii are baffling the most ardent climate change activists.

Hawaii, currently, has more snow than Boston and New York combined.

Per Newsweek:

Meteorologists described Hawaii as a “winter wonderland” earlier this season after a late November snowstorm dumped approximately half a foot of snow at the Mauna Kea Weather Center on Hawaii Island. The weather center is based on the Mauna Kea volcano. The peaks at Mauna Loa also saw snowfall. Meanwhile, Boston has only received a fraction of its average snowfall, with .2 inches falling on December 6. Snow has yet to fall this season in New York City.

While this should prop up theories that mans’ gas guzzling has irrevocably altered “normal,” Hawaii is home to this:

Peak gas guzzle.

Lifted V-6s and V-8s are a national treasure on the archipelago, praised and honored. A plume of holy smoke puff puff puffing out of polished exhaust pipes.

Glorious things but back to the snow issue, what to make of it?

This is the sort of vehicle popular in bone dry New York:

How to square with current theories?

Certainly more questions than answers.

Fast Eddie Rothman
"We kept it a lot safer. Send 'em in… what's the big deal. We used to that from V-land all the way down the coast," says Fast Eddie.

Hawaiian strongman Fast Eddie Rothman delivers home truths on gentrification of hallowed North Shore

"There's no consequences because it's so diluted. The local people don't have that…clout… that they had before."

The North Shore strongman Fast Eddie Rothman, daddy to big-wave world champ and ukulele prodigy Makua and almond-eyed vlogger Koa, needs very little introduction.

Although if you did swing into the sport late, and who didn’t I suppose, the following story, from the old Chas Smith book Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell, where Fast Eddie slaps everyone at the Billabong House might be instructive.

He had left his compound at Backyards, a famously localized surf spot, after the sun set and drove south on O’opuola street before turning east on the Kamehameha highway, gripping his steering wheel with scarred knuckles.

He passed Ted’s Bakery, known for its plate lunches, its cream pies, and its impossibly slow service. He passed the only Chevron for miles, run by a family of transgendered Samoans who flirt freely when handing over packs of cigarettes or change. They are each over six feet tall, two hundred pounds, with the daintiest touches of eye shadow and blush.

He passed the rotting fruit stand selling fresh passion fruit and pineapple, Ehukai Beach Park and its just erected “Billabong Presents the Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons” scaffolding, set up for the contest that would run the next day.

He passed sunset Beach Elementary school and then he abruptly turned right, without signaling, onto Ke Nui Road.Ke Nui is the size of a small alley and runs parallel to the Kamehameha for a rough mile. Banyans and palms hover over it like a frescoed ceiling.

There are no streetlights. Night can feel thick on Ke Nui. Dense. Eddie drove over the speed bumps without slowing and then slammed to a stop at its end. Directly in front of the Billabong house.

He got out of his car, went through the wooden gate and up the rock stairs and straight inside without ringing the doorbell and without the customary removal of slippahs.

Inside the house he paused briefly, glancing around, before walking up to Graham Stapelberg and fixing him in his dull gaze. Looking through him. Before reaching a scarred knuckled hand through time and space and grabbing his throat. The surfers and executives, those who had not yet left for Surfer Poll, froze. The horror. This horror.

And Eddie reached his other hand back, back, back, and then, as if it was a slingshot, launched it forward. It smashed into Graham’s cheek with a painful thud. Eddie kept slapping him and then dumped him in a pile and went on a tear through the house.

I have very fond memories of being welcomed into the Rothman compound on one of my early forays to the North Shore, meeting little Makua and baby Koa, and being granted an audience with Fast Eddie himself, of whom I wrote many complimentary things.

And deservedly so.

Anyway, during the Vans broadcast, Fast Eddie lit up with his classically ominous humour when it came to regulating, as they like to say over there.

After saying there was no way in hell the Backdoor Shootout would’ve run in those conditions (“We want it big, we want it gnarly, we want it Pipe,” said Fast Eddie) he described Pipeline in 2023 as a “shitshow.”

“There’s two hundred people out there sometimes. (Mimicking foreign accent) ‘I’m at the Pipelinnee, I love the Pipelinnee.’ You don’t even know what the bottom looks like. You’re gonna surf it, I’m here I’m gonna charge it. The respect for the local people has gone. You don’t come to other countries like, say, Brazil, paddle out at their break and start catching all their waves. You’ll get your ass beat. But over here it’s changed now. There’s no consequences because it’s so diluted. The local people don’t have that…clout… that they had before.”

Fast Eddie added, “We kept it a lot safer. Send ’em in… what’s the big deal. We used to that from V-land all the way down the coast.”

“Community regulation is a good thing,” said Makua.


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Nicolas Cage (pictured) grumpy and traditional.
Nicolas Cage (pictured) grumpy and traditional.

Ultimate grumpy traditionalist Nicolas Cage film “The Surfer” officially wraps!

"Surfing has always been about Bustin’ Down the Door — always about experimentation, leadership, individuality and innovation..."

I’ve been thinking about Dirk Ziff’s wife Natasha, this morning. Not in any sort of bad way, or even uncomfortable, just remembering when the co-Waterperson of the Year said, “Surfing has always been about Bustin’ Down the Door — always about experimentation, leadership, individuality and innovation, both in athletic progression and culturally. And this is how we want to be, and will always strive to be, at the WSL: innovative and always pushing forward. The surfers, past and present and future, are our guides — the surfing greats have never been grumpy traditionalists, but tough innovators.”

Remember that? It was five years ago, now, so you’d be forgiven for forgetting but I ponder that last “the surfing greats have never been grumpy traditionalists, but tough innovators” often.

Is that actually true?

Well, while you’re thinking, according to Variety, filming has wrapped on The Surfer, a Nicolas Cage vehicle shot entirely in Yallingup. The picture tells the story of:

When a man returns to Australia to buy back his family home after many years in the U.S., he is humiliated in front of his teenage son by a group of local surfers who claim ownership over the secluded beach of his childhood. Wounded, he defies them and remains at the beach, demanding acceptance. As the conflict escalates he is brought to the edge of his sanity and his identity is thrown into question.

Back to Ziff’s axiom, Cage seems like a grumpy traditionalist. The group of local surfers certainly seem like grumpy traditionalists. The whole movie, in fact, appears to revolve around the very idea of grumpy traditionalism. They all sort of seem sort of great too, in their own way.

Was she wrong?

More as the story develops.