The English viscount turned his back on green pastures for a surfboard and Hawaiian waves. But his untimely death at 40 shocked his family. In the first of a two-part exclusive, Andy Martin, friend and fellow surfer, sets off to see if he can find out what had happened to the golden boy of North Shore

I met Ted for the first time in the summer of 1989 on the southwest coast of France. I was a surfing correspondent and he was a would-be world surfing champion. Lacanau, colonised by Quiksilver, populated by marquees and stages and pennants and music, had the feel of some medieval jousting tournament. Ted – Edward George William Omar Deerhurst, Viscount – riding a board with the distinctive Excalibur design, his trusty sword carving through the surf, long blond locks glinting in the sun like a radiant helmet, fitted right in there. He was like a knight errant on a quest for the elusive holy grail.A former amateur who had represented Great Britain in South Africa, he was in search of points to climb up the ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) ladder. It had been a bit of a struggle hitherto, over a number of years, but he was hopeful that this summer would be the breakthrough for him. He struck a brave, optimistic note. Mingled with a degree of melancholy yearning.But there was one other British surfer who was competing in the French Triple Crown. His name was Martin Potter, aka “Pottz”. He was semi-invincible. Pottz won at Biarritz, scooped the Triple Crown, and was in pole position to take the world title, thus becoming my passport to the giant waves of Hawaii. But I was rooting for the underdog, the longshot, the loner, the unsung hero. Ted.

Read the full excerpt here.

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