It was Tom Carroll's day. And then it wasn't.
It was the Billabong Pro in January 1989. Perfect Pipe, rising swell, World Title on the line. And Carroll was totally the favorite. It seemed nobody could have beaten him that day. So instead, he chose to beat himself.
Back then there was a weird rule in the books. It said, if a surfer had priority and you didn't, you weren't allowed to make a move for a wave.
So it's round four, Carroll vs Todd Holland, the scrappy Floridian. A perfect tepee rears up, Carroll leading, Todd with priority.
Todd looked at it. Tom looked at it. Tom couldn't help it. In that moment, if he knew about the rule, he forgot it. He turned to paddle, and that was all she wrote.
No third World Title for YOU buddy.
Six hours later, the ASP scrubbed the rule from its books, and Carroll never challenged for a World Title again.