Felton Woman Rescued by Pro Surfer "Flea" and Troy Virostko Writes a Letter of Thanks

Lee Tolson, the Felton woman rescued by surfers Darryl "Flea" Virostko and his brother Troy, wrote a thank you she calls "One April Fool and Two Angels"

Lee Tolson

Took my first surfing lesson on February 21 of this year (yeah I'm 65, so what?).

That fateful day, someone just lent me a boogie board. Armed with that and a zen mind, beginners mind, I headed down to the ocean to test my mettle on the first glorious, sunny weekend day in forever. Didn't actually know there were high-surf warnings in place, just saw about a million people in the water, and thought, hey, let's try out this board in what I subsequently learned was Mitchell's Cove. 

I attempted some totally lame and fruitless duck diving for about 20 minutes trying to catch a wave (having inconveniently forgotten the concept of the turtle dive). Then noticed that a rip had carried me to a section of water where I was getting hit with waves from the front, and also reflected waves from the side. This didn't give me much chance to recover between tumbles. 

Thought it wise to return to shore (duh!) only to notice that the beach had pretty much disappeared. Note to self: check tide schedules before entering ocean.

Spent the next, what seemed like forty minutes, (I estimate I was in the water for about an hour in total) eating sand, drinking brine, and communing with Davy Jones. Luckily I had a leash on my board, so I just climbed it like a vine whenever I was dashed under (commenting to myself on the incredible energy of the waves, and the brilliance of velcro).

I reviewed my options: 

A. Drown.

B. Get to dry land.

Scoping out the beach-less shoreline, I saw a pile of boulders and thought if I could make it there, I could possibly scramble up, but my swimming efforts just weren't cutting it. Then a brilliant flash: "you have a board, ding bat, use it!"  

To my amazement, I was able to catch a wave with it (my only true accomplishment of the day) which brought me straight to the aforementioned rocks. At this point things got a bit hairy since there just wasn't much of a lull in the wave action, and the opportunities I had to sip air without foam in it kept getting shorter and shorter. 

Somewhere along the line I was completely submerged, topsy turvy, and the thought arose: Mmmm, I wonder if this is the time, in general, when folks start gesticulating wildly and calling for help. Then this annoyed voice from my brain responded: "Yes, you moron, and it's pronounced Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp!!!!!!!" 

However, since I was upside down and underwater, I informed my brain that screaming would simply not be an effective strategy at this point in the game. Apparently, however, the silence of this lamb was heard, for the next thing I knew I was standing on a rock, with my hands against the stone face.

At my eye level was a ledge. I actually was too tired to even lift my head to gaze upward, and really had no clue how I could possibly make it up there, whereupon I noticed that I was staring at a pair of sneakers. Then this golden voice said: "Grab hold of my arm. I'll pull you up."

I thought: "Oh, that's a lot to ask of someone. I must be just like dead weight."  My arm, however, had other ideas, and it shot up over my head like a speeding bullet. I felt someone grab my wrist, and haul me up to the ledge. 

That's when I discovered that I had strangely transformed into a jellyfish that hadn't learned to sit up yet. Never-the-less, this kind and noble rescuer helped me to scuttle back up to higher ground with virtually no assistance from my own boneless muscles. Someone else joined him and pulled me up from behind, and we were all able to get out of the path of the breakers.

I remember sitting there for a while holding on to the front of someone's tee shirt like a baby holds on to a mother's skirt, hoping that he didn't mind, since the pure comfort of it was so sweet. 

At some point folks in helmets and walkie-talkies showed up, and with their help I trudged up the last eight feet to street level. 

I did not know who had saved me. I deeply wanted to thank him, but was physically incapable of forming any words to do so. I did hold his hand, and looked in his eyes hoping that what I was feeling was sufficiently communicated through touch alone.

It was the Sunday, April 1st, which ironically happened to be both April Fools Day, and Palm Sunday. This seemed a more than appropriate date for potential death by boogie board, and divine intervention. 

Thank you "Flea" and Troy. I hope this fool will get the chance, one day, to tell you two angels, in person, how truly grateful I am.

Surfers rule!

Maria Grusauskas April 06, 2012 at 12:34 AM
i love this story! So glad.
Lisa April 06, 2012 at 09:22 PM
So happy you are safe, Lee.
Paul Burdette April 07, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Lee, You lived. Dared the ocean with a fools gusto, and survived. Now with a bit more knowledge and respect your ready to jump back in and shred!!
Lee April 07, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Many thanks Paul, Lisa and Maria.


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