Stab Magazine | The Californian Fires Have Decimated Malibu

The Californian Fires Have Decimated Malibu

Two dead, countless homes destroyed, and a surf community left in tatters. 

news // Nov 11, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

For three days Malibu has burned. The ongoing tragedy is heartbreaking to watch as it continues to develop in real time. 

By Saturday morning the Woolsey Fire had burned over 70,000 acres in L.A. and Ventura counties. From the mountain canyons all the way down to P.C.H., the flames have been inescapable. At least two people have lost their lives and over 150 homes destroyed. 

Massive evacuations have taken place. Students at Pepperdine University were forced to hunker down in secure locations on campus. Horses and llamas have been stranded on the beach, tied to lifeguard towers as people attempt to get all of the animals on the ranches and farms to safety. 

Highway 101 has reopened in Ventura County, but remains closed in portions of L.A. County.

It is not known what ignited the fire at this time.

With so much chaos and tragedy, it’s with heavy hearts that this disaster has taken a heavy toll on our surf community. A number of our friends and heroes are in the thick of it right now.

“Here are no words to describe my emotions,” wrote Stab friend and photographer Lyon Herron, who’s family has lost everything in the fire. “Everything my mother has worked for was stripped away in a matter of hours. Not just her but our whole family. Today was one I’ll never forget, almost everyone of my friends are in the same situation. Malibu as a community will rebuild together, because that’s what we do. I love my home and am so grateful we are all safe.”

WSL color man Strider Wasilewski has also lost the family home. With things developing so rapidly, they managed to find a room at the Beverly Hills Hotel. 

“My hometown is burning down,” said Frankie Harrer STAY SAFE everyone! I love you my Malibu family. Wish I was there to help.”

Then there was Laird Hamilton’s stand. While the Kardashians and Kanye were evacuating, Laird and his neighbor, Elijah Allan-Blitz, went to war. Pumping water out of his pool, he stayed behind and fought the fire, saving both his and his neighbor’s house.

“Now I know why I learned at an early age not to mess with mother nature,” wrote Laird on Instagram. “There is too much ground to cover for the brave firefighters so many of the members of the community are doing their best. I want to thank my dear friend @elijah_a.b who stayed behind with me and fought the fire at my house and my neighbors. For now he helped me keep the home standing. Most importantly is that the humans are safe. 

The video that he posted on Instagram of him exiting PCH just north of Pepperdine is radical. 

Surf scribe Jamie Brisick has also been displaced. The fate of his abode unknown, he wrote, “In the end I evacuate Malibu. Land at The Talpa in Santa Monica. Order a taco, guacamole, margarita rocks salt. The radio plays what to me sounds like white noise. Then all falls silent for a bit. Then ‘All the leaves are brown…’”

Another fire burning in Northern California has destroyed over 80 percent of the town of Paradise, near Chico.  

These are apocalyptic times we are living in. As I write this my parents are staying with me, they’re victims of the Sonoma County fires last year and lost their home. The impact of these fires is absolutely gut-wrenching. 

We’re all in it together…except the President of the United States, he’s just an asshole.

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments.” tweeted Donald Trump. 

You know, the Malibu forests, right?

Our thoughts go out to all those whose lives have been upturned by the fires throughout the region. 


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

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Inside The Alternative Surfboard Marketing Machine 

Two of the biz's best — Matt Parker and Blake Peters — spill many beans.

Aug 10, 2022

The Tragic Parallels Between The Murder Of Ricardo Dos Santos & 8x World Jiu Jitsu Champion Leandro Lo

Two Brazilian sporting icons killed brazenly by off-duty police officers.

Aug 9, 2022

The Pick-Up, Vans US Open: In The Belly Of The Beast

Finger flips, shaping with Zion Wright, slurpees, Hawaiian takeovers, and the king of Surfline rewinds.

Aug 8, 2022

Albee Layer Discusses His Not-So-Budding Acting Career And The Upcoming Film “Sweet Adventure”

"Matt and Nora were tripping a little harder than I was just because they weren't…

Aug 8, 2022

Zeke Lau & Bettylou Sakura Johnson Win The Vans US Open Of Surfing 

Hawaii dominates HB.

Aug 8, 2022

How A Former CT Surfer Gets “Absolute Beginners” Barreled In A Matter Of Months

Luke Stedman elaborates on his Blackball surf programs.

Aug 7, 2022


Sweeter Than Stolen Honey 

A versatile Haydenshapes x Dylan Graves HP (and soft board) tested in weird waves.

Aug 7, 2022

15-Year-Old Ladybird Erin Brooks Makes Final In All-Men’s Tuberiding Event

And Clay Marzo takes the dub.

Aug 6, 2022

Are We Looking At Reef Sculpting The Wrong Way? 

The pros, cons, possibilities, and mechanisms of changing reefs to suit our surfing desires.

Aug 6, 2022

The Gudang Trio Discusses Brotherhood And How To Make It To The Mountain Top Together  

Positive sibling vibrations we should all aspire to.

Aug 6, 2022


Everyone’s Local Zone Has A Mythical Wave

Kai Lenny, Imaikalani DeVault, Eli Hanneman and friends get to surf theirs.

Aug 5, 2022

The Pick-Up, Vans US Open: Harry Bryant Vs. The Wedge

A lot of swell, stolen identities, surf masochists, mutilated noses, The Wedge, skull-crushing pylons, and…

Aug 5, 2022

When Gabby And Kolohe Pull Out, The Hog Pulls In

Tahiti wildcards named.

Aug 5, 2022

First Look: The 2022 Electric Acid Surfboards

Did our questionable EAST gamble pay off for Mick Fanning's Maldivian quiver ?

Aug 4, 2022

How Boardshorts Work

They are your one chance to look cool while actually surfing. Don’t blow it.

Aug 4, 2022

A Surf/Snow/Music Fez In The Heart Of Melbourne 

URBNSURF is throwing an action-sports/live music DOOF this month and Stab Premium members are getting…

Aug 4, 2022

Peace, Love, And Mung Beans: 7 Things I Learned From Mick Fanning

Ranging from surf travel hacks to philosophy to jingle lyrics.

Aug 2, 2022

The Three Million Dollar Chinese Storm

500 board orders, coaching armies, and trips around the world — here's how China’s Olympic…

Aug 1, 2022