By the time Tom Curren hit the ASP World Tour in 1983, he was taking out pros such as Rabbit Bartholomew, Shaun Tomson, and Cheyne Horan. 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 status both for his competitive drive and for his surfing style. He made a decision to retire from competitive surfing in the mid-1990s.
In 1990, at Margaret River, Tom Curren rode a wave all the way from the take-off zone to the River mouth – roughly a 1200-foot ride. He then had to walk back to Main break from the River mouth to re-enter the surf. Those who saw it say it has never been repeated, in or out of competition.
Tom 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 appeared under a contract with surfboard company Channel Islands. He co-producing and rode pro surfboard models such as the Black Beauty and the Red Beauty.
Early in his professional career he signed with OP swimwear then later changed sponsorships deals to Rip Curl Wetsuits and Clothing.
After his ‘time + out’, Tom Curren re-appeared at an ASP Surfing Competition in France in 1993, armed with a 1970s 5’5″ Twin Fin he’d reportedly bought second hand in a New Jersey Surf Shop (Surfers Supplies in Ocean City, NJ). He entered and proceeded to beat Matt Hoy, who was ranked 8th in the world at the time. Curren showed the world how to use the fish board and how to use it with a modern style of surfing. Curren has collaborated on retro fish and egg designs with surfcraft design engineer and fellow Santa Barbaran George Greenough. Here is a great video showcasing his great surfing abilities and reminding the world why he is considered as one of the greatest surfers of all time.