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Deerhurst, Ted


English-born viscount, the son of the 11th Earl of Coventry, who engineered what Australia's Surfing Life magazine called "a strangely beautiful surfing career." Deerhurst was a handsome, likable, modestly talented surfer who wanted more than anything to succeed on the world pro tour. His fifth-place finish in the juniors division of the 1973 English National Championships, however, more or less set a standard for the rest of his competitive career. Deerhurst was good enough to get invited to pro circuit events in the '70s and early '80s—and for years was the only touring British pro—but also seemed to be doomed to failure, and never once advanced to the final day of competition. (He did, however, make the semi-finals at the 1978 Smirnoff contest at Sunset Beach.)

Deerhurst came to the attention of the surfing world in 1982, when he was featured on the cover of Surfer magazine, posed with five custom surfboards and two hunting hounds on the rolling lawn in front of the family manor. He was nicknamed "The British Lion." Deerhurst made brief appearances in two surfer movies, Storm Riders (1982) and Rolling Thunder (1991). Over the years, he shaped his own line of surfboards, and organized charity surfing events, including the 1986-founded Excaliber Cup, which raised money for Easter Seals.

Deerhurst died of sudden heart failure in 1997, brought on by an epileptic seizure, in a North Shore hotel room. He was 40, and a law student at the University of Hawaii.