Stab Magazine | Alex Gray Receives $3,500 From American Airlines After Broken Board Incident

Playing (Mostly) Exclusively On Stab Premium: Facing Monsters, Featuring Kerby & Cortney Brown


Alex Gray Receives $3,500 From American Airlines After Broken Board Incident

The legally allowed amount of retribution.

news // Apr 19, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

There are few things like an impressive display of destruction. Frustrating to be on the receiving end of, sure, but great for generating conversation. Especially if you know how to manipulate the audiences’ reaction in your favour.

Let Alex Gray be a case study in how to generate crowd-sourced retribution in wake of a personal tragedy. Should you have forgotten: Last week, Alex landed at the American Airlines terminal at LAX on flight AA 285 from Honolulu. Following arrival, AA ground workers ran over, suplexed, mishandled and did just about whatever it takes to snap a hefty amount of Alex’s accompanying fibreglass. 

Mr Gray became aware of this after a halved board bag with his name on it arrived at the oversized luggage pick-up. Upon opening, Alex discovered that four of his five boards were broken (one of which was snapped cleanly in half) and responded with a social media tirade.

After a week of detailing the specifics of his nightmare, which included talking to a local television station (see above video), American Airlines finally fessed up. Claiming that the boards had clearly been run over by a truck or landing vehicle of some sort. An incident that would settle to the tune of $3,500 USD.

Screen Shot 2017 04 18 at 12.39.35 PM

Alex posted the above image to his Instagram with these accompanying words:

#Americanairlines has replied, and I give them two thumbs up! @americanair will reimburse ALL damaged @cisurfboards and the @onamission bag. They are also returning the excess baggage fee. The airline was apologetic while acknowledging their negligence, and agrees the boards were most likely run over. I’d like to commend AA for handling this situation appropriately. Most of all I’d like to thank all of YOU for your engagement. It’s amazing to see the positive side of social media bring like-minded people together in stance of a fair result. Moving forward, I am positive the reply to this circumstance will hold as the example for all surfers in the future. Again thank you all. Let’s get ready for more surf adventures 🙂

Trusting airlines with gear has always been a necessary evil of surf travel. As we’ve seen from the John John Florence JetBlue debacle of 2016 to The People vs Hawaiian Airlines saga, their scorched earth hardware policy knows no boundaries. It’s warming to learn Alex was able to flip his bad experience into something beneficial. 

Alex plans to send a portion of the board reimbursement to the Jimmy Miller Foundation, a nonprofit that provides ocean therapy to wounded veterans and children. He also plans to use the money to fix the damaged boards, which he will sign and giveaway through his Instagram.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

‘Desensitised’ Chronicles Kipp Caddy’s Journey To The ‘Wave Of A Lifetime’ In Mind Melting 8K 

“I think crew get a bit too beaten up on the whole tow vs paddle…

Jul 24, 2024

Long Read: How Surfing The World’s Most Dangerous Slabs Saved Kerby Brown’s Life

"There is big wave surfing, and then there is what Kerby does." - Kai Lenny

Jul 24, 2024

Who Nathan Florence Is Betting On For Olympic Gold

Become a better better with our 2023 SSOTY.

Jul 23, 2024

Kai McKenzie Attacked By Shark In Port Macquarie

The young freesurfer sustained a life-threatening injury to his right leg.

Jul 23, 2024

Op-ed: PSA From The Photog World — Know Your Fucking Limits

Nate Lawrence, Chris Bryan, Dom Mosqueira, Morgan Maassen and more chime in on the recent…

Jul 22, 2024

Unlocked: Oxbow’s Children Of Teahupo’o

10,000 miles from Paris, here's a portrait of surfing's 'Olympic Village.'

Jul 22, 2024

Dimitri Poulos Is Reinvigorated After Losing His Taurine-Caffeine Sponsor

Now the 21-year-old ‘comp guy’ from Ventura threatens a Dane-esque pivot to freesurfing.

Jul 22, 2024

Empty Set: When Is It Ok To Bail Your Board?

The Florences and Mark Healey dissect the razor-thin line between cowardice and common sense

Jul 21, 2024

A (Non) Objective Look At The Best Backside Barrel Riders In History

Who has the best pigdog in the pen?

Jul 21, 2024

The Stab Interview With Jordy Smith

"If I won a gold medal, yeah, I'd probably kick out. I'd have one up…

Jul 19, 2024

How Does A Board Brand Licensing Model Work?

The Lost Stub 3.0 Joyride.

Jul 18, 2024

Challenger Series Losers Win Consolation Prizes At Namibian Desert Casino

"Some crew were saying it was a 3/10, but for me, it was 10/10. The…

Jul 18, 2024

How Teahupo’o Slungshot A Surf-Mat Toting Photographer Into An Induced Coma

Byron Mcloughlin tells the tale of his secondary drowning.

Jul 18, 2024

On Making A Living As A Gen-Z Surf Photographer And Surviving Hyper-Rare Cancer

This 21-year-old protégé of Ryan Miller and Morgan Maassen is back and #opentowork.

Jul 17, 2024

In This Instalment Of MTV Cribs… Ethan Ewing

A character-revealing profile on the Olympian and World #5 + a complimentary Fiji preview

Jul 17, 2024

Jake Marshall Made It To 4th In The World And His Best Friend Is To Blame

From combatants, to housemates, to secretive CT surfer/shaper.

Jul 16, 2024

2024’s Electric Acid Surfboard Test Star Is…

Massively overqualified. 

Jul 16, 2024

Kelly Slater, Sierra Kerr + Erin Brooks Awarded Role Of Cats In Penultimate CT Pigeon Parade

A deadly lineup of wildcards just got invited to Fiji, the last event to determine…

Jul 16, 2024