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Dave Grohl is an icon. Part of some of the most famous bands on earth, his music is known and loved by pretty much everyone. Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Them Crooked Vultures… everything Grohl touches turns to musical gold. But did you know he dabbles in surfing? And, as anyone who dabbles, he’s had an experience that was frightening. Of course, while one would like to believe that he was in double overhead surf when it happened, it was most likely a relatively small day. Judging from the board he took out (“14 fucking feet long with no leash”) it was either a small day or Grohl, along with the person who lent him the board, is entirely clueless about surfing.

According to Grohl, he started surfing a long time ago. “This is a long time ago, I started surfing on the East Coast, which some people don’t consider to be “surfing surfing,” he remembered. “I had a house in North Carolina on the beach, which was beautiful, man, like wild horses running around, and the water is warm, and the people are really friendly. There was no local surf gang, and you would just sit out there and surf these 4 foot waves drinking beer all day long, and it was fun.”

Then, however, on a trip out to Santa Cruz, he got in a little over his head. “Then I came out to the west coast, to Santa Cruz, where I have a bunch of friends,” he said. “I borrow someone’s board—it was someone’s father’s longboard from the 60’s—and it was 14 fucking feet long with no leash, and I just got caught inside. I lost the board up against the cliffs, and I was just caught in a set of waves that seemed to go on for 5 or 10 minutes. I started to panic, like I thought I was going to die, and I knew that if I panicked I probably would, so I kept it cool, and started swimming. That kind of sucked.”

Still, though, a scare is a scare, and when you’re a little uncomfortable in the first place, even the smallest of waves can put you into a near-panic mode. In a recent interview with GQ, the musical legend describes exactly how it happened, along with his Australian scooter DUI, the Gallagher brothers, and of course, Nirvana.

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