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Interesting profile of professional surfer Darryl "Flea" Virostko in this morning's Sunday Chron. The story reads much like you'd expect in the case of a humble-kid-done-well; in the face of vast success and sudden wealth as a surfing prodigy, Virostko stumbled down the same dark path that so many professional athletes do, nearly losing his life to a dysfunctional drug addiction.

Following a last-ditch family intervention and a stint in rehab, Virostko has been sober over a year now, and he credits the time spent on his board for keeping him so:
[Flea] surfs twice a day. It helps him forget his troubles on land and tires him, helping him sleep. When he was asked to find a higher power during his rehab, he thought of big waves.

"I just referred back to every time I got worked over at Mavericks," he said. "I would look up at this whitewash and pray to the ocean, and it worked every time. The ocean is bigger than me."

In my studies of the yoga sutras, we've so often compared the quiet mind that's a product of yoga practice with the same stillness of being that's often the result of similar moving meditations: rock-climbing, marathon-running, and yes, even surfing. The one-pointed focus mandated by such extreme physical undertakings renders the monkey mind quiet for a few blessed moments. Whether your yoga mind comes from balancing on a surfboard or a mat doesn't matter so much; that you're there in that moment, away from the struggle for even a brief respite, does.

Darryl 'Flea' Virostko - Back to Mavericks (SFGate)


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