Tom Curren (born July 3, 1964, in Santa Barbara, California, United States) is an American surfer. He was born to father Pat (big-wave legend and shaper) and mother Jeanine. His brother Joe is also a professional surfer and popular photographer and he also has a sister named Anna.
Curren grew up raised primarily by his mother, and spent much of his free time in the ocean. Taught to surf by his father, who was a big wave rider, Curren drew on his lineage and had a natural affinity for the ocean and the long surf break of Rincon Point, near his home in Santa Barbara. He progressed quickly and drew the attention of the surf media.
Curren also was a natural competitor and contrary to his introverted personality, reveled in heated competitions in the NSSA, which at the time was California's premier amateur surfing body. Slowly, he was seeded into professional events and he handily beat all comers. By the time Curren hit the ASP World Tour in 1983, he was taking out veteran pros such as Rabbit Bartholomew, Shaun Tomson, and Cheyne Horan. He really hit his stride in 1985, and took down his first world title.
He was world champion three times - 1985, 1986, 1990, and won 33 championship events in his professional career, the latter being a total only bettered by Kelly Slater. He achieved near-mythical status both for his competitive drive and for his smooth, powerful surfing style. He made a high-profile decision to retire from competitive surfing in the mid-1990s. He led the surfing revolution in the early '80s and inspired many of the surfers today, showing them how to surf a wave. Curren is a fascinating study in contradictions; he has a surfing style that combines smooth, rhythmic, seamlesslesly linked maneuvers with blinding speed, raw power, and unique check turns and body English. He seems to relish victory and the spoils that come with it, and yet he is unassuming, publicity shy, and extremely private. It is these compelling characteristics that endear him to global surfing community. In 1990, at Margaret River, Curren rode a wave all the way from the take-off zone to the Rivermouth - roughly a 1200-foot ride. He then had to walk back to Mainbreak from the Rivermouth to re-enter the surf. Those who saw it say it has never been repeated, in or out of competition.
Curren still surfs in contests on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS.) He is also often invited to surf in World Championship Tour (WCT) trials or contests as a wildcard. He has competed in the Annual Switchfoot Bro-Am Surf Contest for 3 years in a row, surfing on the Switchfoot team.
In his five-year rise to World Surfing Champion, Curren led the way in cutting edge, perfectly tuned performance. Despite his youth, Curren was acknowledged as one of surfing's true geniuses and a soulful original. He single handedly challenged the surfing community in almost every area of surfing's culture and altered the mindset of hundreds of thousands of surfers around the world. Riding under a contract with surfboard company Channel Islands, Tom Curren developed a memorable surfing career co-producing and riding many pro surfboard models such as the Black Beauty and the Red Beauty.