Legendary big wave surfer Ricky Grigg passed away Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at the age of 77, after years of battling throat cancer. He was a Malibu local surfer who eventually surfed his way to Hawai’i, where he won the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational.
Our thoughts and hearts go out to the Grigg family and the entire surf community for the loss of such an impactful person.
Watch Ricky Grigg surf Sunset Beach, O’ahu, Hawai’i back in 1966:
Born 1937 in Los Angeles, California, Grigg started surfing at the age of 9, and by the early 50’s, made a name for himself as one of the best surfers in Malibu. The aspiring biologist moved himself up to Northern California to attend Stanford University where he earned his B.S. in 1958. Grigg quickly left his cold water lifestyle and headed straight to the North Shore of O’ahu. There, he learned to integrate his impressive small wave style into big wave charging.
While living in Hawai’i, Grigg completed his Masters in Zoology from the University of Hawai’i in 1964. In 1966, Grigg won the most prestigious event of its time, the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational. The athlete moved back to California to complete his Ph.D in Oceanography, and participate in a study called the Sealab II, where he lived underwater inside a chamber for 15 days.
Ricky Grigg is famous as one of the pioneers of big wave surfing during the days of minimal equipment, and little knowledge of the biggest waves in the world. Grigg was featured in several surf films including Slipper When Wet, Gun Ho!, Golden Breed and Blue Safari.