Local knowledge and experience makes Darryl “Flea” Virostko a respected athlete in the lineup at the world’s most dangerous break, the only surfer to ever win the Mavericks competition three times. Virostko was also a four-time competitor and 12-time invitee to the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational. In 2000, he beat current 11-time World Champion surfer Kelly Slater in all three heats of the Quiksilver Men Who Ride Mountains event at Mavericks, including the final.
At the peak of his career, addiction to alcohol and methamphetamine almost took his life. He decided to get help, and now at the age of 42, Flea is serving the Santa Cruz community by opening the FleaHab Rehabilitation Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to sober living and getting back in the lineup with a clear mind and positive outlook free of drugs.
Flea is this week’s legendary guest on Off the Lip Radio Show on KSCO 1080AM out of Santa Cruz, California. Watch the LIVE STREAM interview at 7PM PST on Tuesday, Feb 18th right here on TheSurfChannel.com.
Call in to ask questions from 7-8 PM PST, Tuesday night: 1-831-479-1080
Thumbnail art and cover shot by Frank Quirarte.
According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the “Godfather”-like figure Vince Collier, who enforced the heavy NorCal localism, nicknamed Virostko as “Flea” when he spotted the barely 4 ft teenage surfer charging down the face of a Middle Peak set wave at Steamer Lane.
Born in Santa Cruz, California, Virostko channeled aggression from a troubled childhood into his surfing on the Westside. Gang violence became heavy when local drug problems found its way into the surf lineup. Virostko fell victim to the party scene becoming addicted to meth, changing his focus and goals as the “Westside” vs. “Eastside” localism escalated.
He was at the top of his profession when the celebrity lifestyle that accompanied his surfing success brought with it alcohol and methamphetamine addiction. A near fatal fall from a cliff almost killed him — that was when he decided to get help.
Since his retirement from competitive surfing, Virostko has changed his life completely opening a rehabilitation center in Santa Cruz for others struggling with drug additions. He has shifted his focus towards his family, freesurfing and serving the community. With the help of friends, family and business associates, Darryl Virostko is incorporating what he has learned to work for his sobriety into a concept to help others.
FleaHab is a Santa Cruz based non-profit organization opened in January of 2014. It is a rehab center with a mission to provide a sober living environment, created to integrate exercise and a healthy lifestyle into the recovery process for those afflicted with drug and alcohol addiction.
“There are many ways to drown, and too many folks are struggling in the waters of life, reaching for something real to grasp. FleaHab is about reclaiming solid inner ground. Darryl has been there and knows how to make that happen: with exercise, activities and a deep re-connection to one’s essential nature.”
For more info, visit: www.fleahab.net
Off the Lip Radio Show features legendary surfers and skateboarders in their Santa Cruz, California studio. You can listen in on 1080AM radio in the Bay Area every Tuesday evening starting from 7PM PST. Now, you can watch the YouTube Live stream from inside the studio right here on TheSurfChannel.com!