Soundings: Season 5 Episode 7

Darryl “Flea” Virostko

On growing up in Santa Cruz, his nickname, channeling fear and adrenaline, his worst wipeout, addiction and asking for help, and Maverick’s.

Light / Dark

A three-time Maverick’s champion and a central figure in Santa Cruz’s explosion onto surfing’s main stage in the late ’90s and early ’00s, Darryl Virostko learned to ride big, heavy surf as a kid at Steamer Lane. His introduction to Maverick’s, the wave that defined his career, came when it was still considered a myth in surfing circles. His fast success and notoriety within surfing, and the big-wave community especially, engendered a degree of risk-taking, adrenaline-chasing behavior that eventually pushed Virostko into addiction. Clean since 2008, Virostko is now an advocate for the sober community, providing support for people with addiction through his rehabilitation program, FleaHab. In this episode, show host Jamie Brisick travels to Virostko’s home in Santa Cruz to talk about how Maverick’s changed the big-wave landscape, the power of commitment, lessons learned from his youth, getting clean, death and love, and surfing with range. 

Produced by Jonathan Shifflett.
Music by PazKa (Aska Matsumiya & Paz Lenchantin).

Feature image by Dave “Nelly” Nelson.