Ever the pioneer and arbiter of surf style, Tom Curren showed the new era how it's done Sunday morning at the Founder's Cup. In a surprise appearance, the three-time American World Champion opened the day, surfing three calibration waves before Run 3 got underway.
Almost more importantly than his Titles, however, Curren is the godfather of a distinctive approach to waveriding, in which he combines seamless turns with incredible power. Since his heyday in the 1980s, surfers worldwide have tried to emulate him. Just after putting his own touch on the Surf Ranch wave Sunday, Curren reflected a bit on the experience.
Tom Curren on the wave:
"I surfed it once before they did the upgrades. It's a better wave now because you have a tube section and then you have a couple of sections where you can do maneuvers.
"It's weird. Think about it: you're on a wave here, you could actually forget the you're in a pool. That's how good it is. But, it's not quite the same. The power zone is very small. If you go too far to either side -- you really have to stay in that window, where the wave is moving. In the ocean you can skip ahead, and do that kind of stuff, go to another section. The power is underneath. But this is all at the top. It's exciting, and it brings surfing to whole new places.
On the evolution of pro surfing:
"The surfers before I came through [the pro] tour, these were the guys who had the vision for surfing. They were seeing this sport as being this major, national sport in every country. People would be watching it on TV, and that's actually what happened. Surfing is on TV. People are advertising with it. You buy your whatever -- your Kellogg's cereal, and surfing is on it. The founders were the people talking that back in the 1970s. They saw that.
"What were were looking at in the ‘80s was a kind of a resurgence of the ‘60s. We got to enjoy that, and it's had a really good, steady progress [since]. There are many different ways in which surfing is progressing. From different types of events, to many people surfing from different countries.
"The design is still going. It's all about surfboard and the technology It's really cool."