Epoch Bits: Beastie Boys, Taylor Knox, and The Day The Music Died

“Epoch Bits” is Havoc TV’s bygone surf, skate, and music column. Every Wednesday, we dive deep into the depths of these radical subcultures that forged the way for those of us raised on a surf and/or skateboard.



Februrary 5 1998 - During the semifinals of the Reef Brazil Big-Wave World Championships at Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico, Taylor Knox snatched up the winner-take-all $50,000 K2 Big-Wave Challenge (the precursor to the Billabong XXL Awards). The title is given to the paddle-in surfer photographed on the largest wave of the year. Knox's wave was estimated to be 52 feet. The photo was featured simultaneously on the covers of Surfer, Surfing, and Australia's Surfing Life magazines.


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February 1987 - In the February '87 issue of Thrasher Magazine, this Def Jam-sponsored Beastie Boys ad ran in promo for their, at the time, recently released Licensed to Ill album. The ad boasts that it's an "album guaranteed to bug your parents (or someone you love).


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February 4, 1977 - James Jones became the first surfer to ride inside the tube at Waimea; he later described the experience—in a grandiose style that many of his big-wave contemporaries found off-putting—as one in which the "full potential for ultimate surfing was realized."



February 3, 1959 - Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson are killed in a plane crash. Don McLean would call it "The Day the Music Died" in his 1971 hit "American Pie."



February 13, 1997 - Pro surfer Todd Chesser was scheduled to fly to Maui to stunt-surf a death scene for the big-wave drama movie, In God's Hands. But the surf was good in Oahu, so he stayed home, and at 9:00 A.M. paddled with two friends into the lineup at Outside Alligator Rock. Chesser drowned two hours later, after getting caught inside by a 25-foot set. Chesser was in more than 20 surf movies and videos.