With the ISA’s stripping of the 2011 Master’s Gold Medal for smoking weed the latest in a long line of surfing and drug related incidents, it seems surfing and drugs go together like a crack and pipe or bongs and paranoia. Here’s five of surfing’s most notorious drug related episodes.
Neco Padaratz – Roid Rage
In 2005, Neco Padaratz was suspended from professional surfing until January 1st 2006. Surfing’s most enthusiastic claimer and best proponent of the warm up routine, was caught with performance enhancing anabolic steroids, during the 2004 WCT event in Hossegor. Padaratz claimed that he had taken the prohibited steroids as part of a course of self-treatment for a chronic back injury. The increased back hair and mood swings, we assume, he’d had since childhood.
Rob Page – Big in Japan
In 1992 Robbie Page spent a total of 66 days in a Japanese prison after customs found a single tab of acid in his wallet. Of those 66 days, 30 of them were spent in solitary confinement. He later said ““I once asked my mum when I came out of Japanese prison for possession of LSD, I asked her, how come I ended up in there? And she said, oh, it’s simple. You lost appreciation for the fundamental values of life.” Or he was still tripping and had simply forgot it was in his wallet.
Nick Wood – The Phantom Menance
Still the youngest ever surfer to win a professional event, the 1987 Rip Curl Pro at Bells when aged 16, Nicky Wood was convicted of hash possession in his hometown of Newcastle in 1992. By 1994 Wood, nicknamed the Phantom for his mysterious existence, was off the tour telling ASL that “if you take a lot of drugs it disorganises you.” He then disappeared from the whole surfing scene, until 2010, when aged 39, he made a comeback at the WQS event at Burleigh. Wood claimed the wildcard by chance after buying a flavoured milk and entering a promotion run by event sponsor Breaka. He lost.
Occy – The Drugs Don’t Work
Whilst Occy was never actuality arrested for drug possession it is well documented that his use of drugs had a significant effect in derailing his surfing at various stages. The worst probably came in France in the early 90s, as outlined in his autobiography The Rise and Fall and Rise of Mark Occhilupo, by Tim Baker. In it Barton Lynch recollects a heat. “I had him that morning and I wasn’t really aware of where he was at and so I rocked up in the morning and the waves are three-to five-feet perfect righthanders. I’m trying to prepare myself for what I figure is a real battle — Occy in perfect rights. He’s looking a bit secondhand and he’s going, ‘The waves are f–ked, let’s shut it down,’ and he started trying to push the contest scaffolding over. And then he sits down and starts eating sand.” Funnily enough Lynch won the heat, after Occy tried to stab him with his board and then spent the last 10 minutes of the heat on shore signing autographs.
Pierre Tostee – Really Takes The Biscuit
When asked what was the funniest thing he had ever seen whilst competing and covering the world tour, Nick Carroll said. “Funniest, probably Nicky Wood’s unintentional spiking of Pierre Tostee with a bunch of hash cookies that Nick had cooked up for his own use. Pierre came home after a surf and thought “hey, fantastic, chocy biscuits!”
However after devouring about six, it wasn’t so funny for the South African pro surfer, a clean living Christian. He went into a drug-induced psychosis and had to be hospitalized. It effectively ended his pro surfing career. Now a successful ASP photographer, Pierre is very careful about what biscuits he eats.