Kerbox, Burton "Buzzy"


Shockingly handsome pro surfer from Hawaii; world-ranked #6 in 1978, and one of the original tow surfers of the early '90s. Kerbox was born (1956) in Indianapolis, Indiana, and was nine years old when he moved with his family to Kailua, on the east side of Oahu; he began surfing the following year. Kerbox won two big pro contests, the 1978 World Cup at Sunset Beach and the 1980 Surfabout in Sydney; the latter earned him $12,000 and a new van, adding up to pro surfing's richest prize at that point. Kerbox was ranked in the year-end top 10 in 1977, 1978, and 1980.

Celebrated fashion photographer Bruce Weber, after seeing a small photo of Kerbox in a 1977 issue of Surfing, arranged for the Hawaiian regularfooter to fly to New York, where he posed for Vogue Men and began a modeling career that would see him in nationwide campaigns for Levi's, Ralph Lauren, and United Airlines.

Kerbox and Maui-based power surfer Laird Hamilton invented tow surfing in 1991, using Kerbox's 15-foot Zodiac motorboat to pull each other into medium-sized waves on the North Shore of Oahu. Hamilton was intent on breaking all big-wave height and performance barriers; Kerbox was looking mainly to escape the growing crowds that had swarmed over Pipeline, Sunset, Waimea, and the rest of the famous North Shore surf breaks. "To ride waves without anyone else around," Kerbox later said, "that was what got the whole thing started for me." Oahu lifeguard Darrick Doerner soon joined Kerbox and Hamilton, they replaced Kerbox's Zodiac with jet skis, and by early 1994, surfing mostly at a Maui break called Jaws, the three surfers had completely reinvented big-wave surfing.

Kerbox was featured in more than a dozen surf movies and videos, including Fantasea (1978) Radical Attitude (1993), Biggest Wednesday: Condition Black (2000), and Riding Giants (2004). He also did stunt work in Waterworld (1995), and In God's Hands (1998). In 2009, Kerbox  and in 2009 made a guest appearance on the popular reality show  America's Next Top Model.