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Tom Curren


Curren took some time off from surfing in the late 1980s, but he returned in 1990 to win an unprecedented third world title. He continued to compete through the early 1990s, but after 1992 he spent less and less time competing and more time doing other things. As he had throughout his career, Curren continued to appear in surfing cult-flick films, including The Endless Summer II in 1994. He also became even more famous through an ad series called The Search, featuring Curren searching the world for the perfect wave, produced by his sponsor Rip Curl.

After having been out of competition completely for several years, Curren mounted another comeback in 1997. Occhilupo made a comeback around the same time, and crowds were thrilled to see these two masters surfing against each other again. Curren quickly made it back into the upper ranks of surfers in the world, winning or finishing in the top three in several events in 1998. His wins in seasons since include the 2001 Quiksilver Pro at Lower Trestles, where he won his first professional competition ever in 1982. At the latter competition, even Curren's board was loaded with nostalgia: it was a replica of his famous Black Beauty board of the mid-1980s.


1964 Born July 3
1981 Father, Pat Curren, abandons family
1982 Turns professional
1983 Becomes first American to win Australian Grand Slam
1983 Marries wife, Marie, April 26
1983 Appears in the film Blazing Boards
1985 Has a reunion with father in Costa Rica
1986 Appears in the film Beyond Blazing Boards
1986 Crowd in Huntingdon Beach riots after Curren loses Op Pro event to Mark Occhilupo
1986 Appears in the film Son of the Last Surf Movie
1992 Begins appearing in the Search ad campaign
1994 Appears in the film The Endless Summer II
1997 Returns to professional competition

Awards and Accomplishments

1978 Boys fourteen-and-under Western Surfing Association champion
1978-79 U.S. Boys Nationals
1980 World Junior Championship
1982 Amateur World Championship
1985-86, 1990 Association of Surfing Professionals world champion
1998 Clarion Car Audio Surf Tour overall champion

Curren remains an inspiration to thousands of young surfers, although he is uncomfortable about being given too much credit for influencing today's competitors. "Sometimes I feel old out there…. No, most of the time," he told Los Angeles Times reporter Erik Hamilton in 1999. "[S]urfing is changing. There's more of a technical aspect to it. I can't do the stuff these kids are doing." But those kids might not be competing with the spectacular aerial tricks that they perform today if Curren had not paved the way for Americans to be champions on the world tour.

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsExtreme SportsTom Curren Biography - The First Legendary Curren, Taking On The World, Comebacks, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments