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The Inertia

When it comes to surfers, there ain’t no one like Tom Curren. He’s the guy everyone wanted to surf like. World champion three times over. More style and more power and more flow on a wave than anyone before or since. There is only one Tom Curren, although many try to emulate.

Curren first started really surfing at the age of six. From the get-go, it was clear that he had something special, and by the time he was in his early teens, he was winning everything. His first contracts with Rip Curl and Ocean Pacific were record-setting.

Curren, as you know, isn’t too interested in fame. That, in fact, was part of his allure. His surfing, however, was a bigger part. “With a style born in part from endless hours spent in the long perfect waves at Rincon,” wrote Matt Warshaw over at EOS, “Curren planted his front foot at a 90-degree angle upon standing up, tucked his back knee in, and rarely moved his feet as he rode. The lines he drew across the wave face were alternately sinuous and explosive, each turn blending perfectly into the next. Although relatively slender at 5′ 8”, 150 pounds, Curren was able to synchronize his limbs, head, and torso so as to leverage maneuvers with a deceptive power. He invented the “double-pump” bottom turn by adding a quick booster second turn while climbing toward the lip, resulting in greater torque and rotation during the following off-the-top maneuver. Curren’s style became the pattern for virtually every hot young surfer in the world during the 1980s and early ’90s.”

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Now, in his later years, Curren’s still pushing limits. He’s still surfing differently than everyone else. Recently, he’s picked up a skimboard, put a few fins on it, and blown minds. His brain is as interesting as his surfing, and this sit down for the Occ-Cast is well worth the listen. And make sure you watch the end, because Occy and Curren go rollerskating. Yes, that’s right. Rollerskating.