Drug Smuggling, Sword Fights And Fraud: These Are The Most Notorious Criminals In Surfing

Living the life of a surfer doesn't mean you can escape the po po too easily

5. The mysterious disappearance of Mike Boyum

Grajagan camp back in 1978. Photo: Encyclopedia of Surfing

Mike Boyum is one of the most mythical figures in the history of surfing, whose disappearance and presumed death at Cloud Nine in the Philippines has never been properly confirmed.

Some believe he’s still hiding out on the run in the jungles of south-east Asia after he stole what is rumoured to be over a million dollars from the Maui mafia to finance his drug smuggling operations.

“Some believe he’s still hiding out in south-east Asia after he stole over a million dollar from the Maui mafia”

Boyum was the mastermind behind much of the drug smuggling that went on in the surfing community in the late 1970s. He was also one of the first to surf the now world famous G-Land aka Grajagan before starting a surf camp there.

He was forced to flee Indonesia, however, after he became the target of numerous drug investigations.

He later did time along with Peter McCabe in New Caledonia over the cocaine bust. A contemporary and close friend of surfers as legendary as Gerry Lopez, Boyum was on of the most important figures in the early period of Indonesian surf travel.


6. Koby Abberton finally gets nicked

Don’t mess with Koby. Photo: Rotten Tomatoes

A lifetime living on the edge finally caught up with Koby Abberton during a brawl outside a Honolulu nightclub in 2008, when he mistakenly punched an off duty cop in the head four times leaving him with a badly bruised melon. The cop had been trying to break up a fight involving one of Koby’s mates.

He served three days in Oahu’s minimum security prision and was handed a six month good behaviour bond.

It followed his arrest for lying to police two years earlier after his brother Jai shot and killed a hitman named Anthony Hines (Jai was later acquitted of murder).


7. Robbie Page gets busted in Japan

Cheyne Horan and Mark Occhilupo with Page in Japan before the incident went down… Photo:

Talk about a ‘sliding doors’ moment.

In 1988, a 23 year old Robbie Page won the Pipe Masters. He then went onto cement himself in cheesy folk lore with a birth in the cult-cringe classic Hollywood surf film, North Shore alongside Occy.

“Pagey had completely forgotten about the cardboard blotted with lysergic acid in his wallet…”

But in 1992, while on his way to compete in the Marui Pro, Japan, he was pulled aside by customs officials. It was probably partially due to his neon clothing and frizzed out hair but Page had nothing to hide. He was no drug smuggler.

That was until the customs officials began leafing through his wallet and found a small slice of cardboard blotted with lysergic acid. Pagey had completely forgotten it was in there.

Japanese authorities showed no mercy on the young surfer, sentencing him to 66 days in prison, 30 of which were served in solitary confinement.

“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?” recalls Page, “And she said, oh, it’s simple. You lost appreciation for the fundamental values of life.”


8. Sunny Garcia done for fraud

Sunny Garcia, the greatest underdog comeback in surf history? Photo: Shawn Parkin

Sunny Garcia was responsible for one of the great underdog world title wins when in 2000 – 14 years after he’d graduated to the Tour – he returned from obscurity (and obesity) to claim the crown.

He would also claim the Hawaiian Triple Crown that year on his way to becoming the first surfer ever to win over a million dollars in contest winnings.

Problem was he failed to declare a whole bunch of it to the tax office and in 2006 was sentenced to three months in federal prison for fraud. He spent another seven months under house arrest.

He would later earn the attention of the police years later for a high profile brawl at Burleigh Heads, Australia in which he sprung to the defence of his son andJeremy Flores after they became embroiled in a stoush with a local surfer.

Sunny was also involved in a tussle with a Brazilian cameraman shortly after who had filmed the altercation. All charges were dropped.


9. Charly Martin wins the award for unluckiest surfer ever

It just wasn’t his day… Photo: Moskova Underwear

While competing at the Coldwater Classic in Scotland, Martin and and few mates were involved in a brawl at a party,

He returned to the hotel to find one of his mates missing, before going in search of him with a serrated knife as protection. It was then that he was set upon by a mob of 15.

“Charly was charged with carrying a knife in public, effectively ending his days as a paid surfer”

Despite never producing the knife, he returned to his hotel room where police were waiting to question him. They found the knife and charged him with carrying a knife in public, which was enough for his sponsor Nike to tear up his contract, effectively ending his days as a paid surfer.

He was ranked third on the WQS at the time with a World Tour birth very likely.

You might also like…

Sex Changes, Drug Busts And Playboy Photoshoots: These Are The Most Scandalous Stories In Surfing

Instagram vs. Reality: What Surfing Is Really Like…


Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.