The Cadet and the Surfer

The strange death of surf champion Rick Rasmussen

Rick Rasmussen was once one of the East Coast’s finest tube-threading prodigies. He was the U.S. Surfing Champion in 1974. Even took home the Kneeboarding title, too. Rasmussen toured Bali, shined at G-Land, and turned Gerry Lopez’s head at Pipe. The 1970s were very good to Rasmussen.

The 1980s, not so much.

In 1979, Rasmussen was busted for coke possession in Bali. Couple years later, he was caught selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of heroin. Shortly after, in a drug deal gone wrong, he was shot dead in Harlem.

In the December 1982 issue of New York Magazine, writer Michael Daly penned a grippingly sad tale of how Rasmussen, champion surfer, ended up shot in the head in a Harlem alley. It was a story of a wayward kid struggling at West Point, and the gritty allure of cocaine in 1980s New York.

Read it over on EOS. Worth each of the 6,000 words.