The Pick Up: A Stickerless Tom Curren And His Backdoor Cutty
On a surfboard that recently sold for $16,500 USD.
Welcome back to Vans x Stab‘s “The Pick Up” — an ongoing series featuring those bright moments in the Triple Crown of Surf you’ve, maybe, forgotten.
Surfing that was revolutionary some decades ago would be considered mediocre by today’s standards. That’s not a knock on past legends of our sport, it’s just the nature of progression. Watch a clip of the best surfer from 50 years ago with no historical context, and if you could bring yourself to be emotionless and objective, you’d realize he couldn’t make a heat at most QS 1,000 events today. Old guys might get all red-in-the-face about that, but it’s true. The standard of professional surfing is significantly higher, in most aspects of the sport, than it was decades ago. As it should be.
But some surfers, and some waves in particular, have stood the test of time. Brock’s tube at the Eddie still might be the best ever. Tom Carroll’s snap at Pipeline has yet to be replicated on a wave of equal or greater magnitude. Another Tom C, this time Curren, rode a wave at Backdoor in 1991 that would make the cut in John John’s latest sizzle reel. His tube-to-turn combo is still that remarkable.
Even more impressive, Curren was riding a 7’8 Maurice Cole on that fateful day. Could you imagine one of today’s pros doing that turn on their typical sub-mid-six-foot step-up, let alone a board nearly eight feet in length? It probably wouldn’t happen. There are certain aspects of our sport that were best performed by the older generations. Full-rail carves on a proper step-up is one of them. (They might have that whole style thing on us, too.)
Tom Curren sequence courtesy of Tom Servais; additional footage by the WSL.
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