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Whether your surf in North Carolina, San Diego, Hawaii, Austrailia or Indonesia, you most likely have a good surf story to share.

Archive for Featured Interviews

Chris Dixon. Being a born again Christian yourself, are you getting people in your church or religious community who are saying derogatory things?

Skip Frye: No, not really. But there is that side of it. I haven’t really been to church in about four weeks. I haven’t been able to get there because of one thing or another. We had a neighbor die right next door in the course of this election. It was kind of a surreal day, because the services were on election day — out on Point Loma. The reception afterwards was at the submarine base, which the last thing out before the tip of Point Loma. So we got out there to the end, and we didn’t have a sticker, and it was a military family — he was a Marine. So we got hung up at the top and had to sit there for a good half hour overlooking the panorama of San Diego on election day. I was really kind of digging on it. It was just kind of a time of peace and quiet, and plus, with a funeral, when you’re facing life and death, it always makes you focus on what’s real in life. It was a pristine day, crystal clear, and there was just the realization that my wife might be mayor of all that.

CD: So you were with Donna while you were sitting out there?

SF: Yeah, Donna, her mom and I. The guards were holding us up and her mom was ready to court-marshall ‘em because we were already late. To me, it was just kind of neat sitting there, and I mentioned it to Donna, ‘God, you might be mayor of all that.’  The Mayor To Be?   To me, God orchestrates everything. He sets it all up, and whoever’s going to win, I believe he’s going to put in there for a purpose, whether it’s my wife, or Dick Murphy again.


CD: It’s interesting you brought up a point about serving people.

SF: That’s where Donna is. She’s more there than I am in a lot of respects. Here I am reading it every day and going to church, but she’s out there living it.

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“Do-do-do—do—do—do-do.” Tom Curren, head down, hands cupped over his mouth, tries to sound out the bass line.  “So, ladies leave ya mens at home…” Tim Foreman sings shyly, hinting that maybe these are the words to the song.  “Yeah! That’s it,” laughs Tom, “Destiny’s Child — I like that song!”  From the “let’s go nuts in our rented minivan” stereo, Tim’s brother Jon (frontman of their band, Switchfoot, super platinum-selling pop/rock dudes), belts a chorus off their upcoming album, Nothing is Sound.  “When I look at the stars! When I look at the star-ah-arrs, I see someone else.”  Entranced, we bob our heads to the song’s flashy Scorps’-like riff as Jon’s eyes blink his approval in the rearview mirror.  The drummer, Chad Butler, plays back the beat, pounding on his knees.  “Yeah, yeah — wait, that’s good!”  Tom cranes his neck at the front speaker, and asks if anyone wants more of that weird fruit we bought on the side of the road.   “Man, look at this!” Jon points up at the massive olive-tan banyans tubing our jungle highway, “You just know this is gonna be a good trip.”  He’s right.   The whole thing’s dialed. We’ve got acclaimed surf cats, Tom C. and Rob Machado, and we’ve got the band. The deal is to set ’em up in a plush, Mainland Mexican getaway and let ’em jam. Cut a few tracks, cut a few waves and have fun doing both. We wanna hear surf music again. For the band, who spend their year giggin’ Tokyo to O-hi-o, the surf part is what they really came here for. As for the tunes, they’re all packing: Tommy Gun with his Yamaha keyboard, XX.   > Continue Surfing Magazine Article

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Surfer Mag Interview with Tom Curren

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SURFER: So with everything you have going on where does surfing fit in now?

TOM CURREN: Generally it’s really hard to be at a satisfactory level at both simultaneously. It’s not impossible, but it’s really hard. Right now, this is the peak season here in Santa Barbara, and at the moment I’ve been working on a new board model with Al Merrick, so I’d say in terms of surfing right now I’m on more of an upswing--or at least trending upward. Surfing is still my main activity.

SURFER: When Occy was making his huge comeback a few years ago a lot of us were wondering, hoping, wishing that you’d do the same. And the big question is still out there, “Where was Tom Curren that whole time?”

TOM CURREN: I think a lot of it can be explained with focusing my attention on music and and some traveling, but, y’know, to be honest there were a few years there where I really wasn’t doing much of anything. I was pretty lost I guess. So there’re pretty big gaps in there where whatever I was doing it was not very productive.

SURFER: You mentioned earlier your album being a somber one, and now this period of being lost, it seems like at the very least you were dealing with a few inner demons.

TOM CURREN: Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s basically the whole…the whole…um, yeah, in a nutshell…I don’t know, it’s kinda hard sometimes to express certain things--some of the songs are kind of somber but, um-- .

SURFER: Was there a period where you were depressed?

TOM CURREN: Um, Yeah, I think so. I think that’s definitely true, as crazy as that sounds.

SURFER: I’m sure many people identify.

TOM CURREN: Yeah but, you know, a lot of it is more…I don’t know if it’s that interesting.

SURFER: Well, during your last trip to Indonesia there was some concern among your peers who love and worship you that you were dealing with a serious drinking problem.

TOM CURREN: Well, to that I can say yes. I guess some people go on those thousand dollar cures with the Indians in the mountains and try to get away from this and that, to deal with it, but for me, it’s just, y’know, Jesus is there and he’s free, and he’s all I need. It’s something where I know I’m not the only one to struggle with alcohol, but…I’m doing really well at the moment.

SURFER: How would you say your approach to dealing with it differs from other approaches?

TOM CURREN: Basically, the pastor at the drug and alcohol service that they have down here says, “This isn’t the twelve step program it’s a one step program.” So…

SURFER: That one step is?

TOM CURREN: Just dying to yourself, and …y’know, cutting off the flesh and basically putting Christ first. His teachings are hard, they get you right where it hurts. Now, as hardcore and clear cut as that sounds, people will either dig that or they don’t, they’ll relate to it or they don’t, that’s not really my mission…I’m not bashing people over the head with it.

SURFER: You’re just saying this is what’s working for you?

TOM CURREN: Yeah, he’s lifting up and breaking down strongholds and putting that light on things the way only God can.

SURFER: Al Merrick seems to have been a father figure to you in the past and shares your religious beliefs. Is working with him again bringing some added comfort these days?

TOM CURREN: Yeah, Al is a very godly man, and a good friend…a real friend. So, y’know, aside from all the technical things we’ve always worked on together, both in the past and now, he’s always been a role model.

SURFER: What have your kids taught you?

TOM CURREN: That we all need structure and discipline, and everyone has their own unique personality. But kids are also very smart. They see everything. They’re watching your every move even if you don’t think so…that’s pretty heavy.

SURFER: So when you look back at your career and the mission surfing has taken you on, what is it that you’ve accomplished that you’re most proud of?

TOM CURREN: This’ll sound strange, but one of the things that I’m really proud of is my Dad being the guy he is. When I was little he made my boards and my wetsuits. He was buying the rubber, cutting the patterns. And there were a few days where we went out in some real overhead surf, and he was never drilling me like, “Do this. Do that.” He was just there, I wasn’t even aware of the fact that he had one eye on me. But I think my upbringing was pretty unique.

SURFER: Your father was directly responsible?

TOM CURREN: Yeah, and now my brother Joe is one of the best surfers that I see. I think he’s extremely underrated--a solid surfer and a solid guy. I think that too comes back to my dad, and it’s something you can’t beat. So that’s something I’m proud of. Another thing I’m proud of is the work Al and I did together when he came into the picture. We made some great boards that were really pivotal for me early on.

SURFER: Are you referring to your first thrusters?

TOM CURREN: Yeah, but actually the twin fins brought me my first big breakthrough. I remember the first time I tried one of those I was flying along with Al right there, sitting on the shoulder seeing what was going to happen. I kicked out next to him on this one and he told me, “You know, you could have made that section.” I realized on the very next wave that he was right. The speed they supplied was--well, people underestimate the impact boards like that had on performance.

Watch Curren Ripping Fish on  FROM 5′5 x 19 1/4 LOST.TV    

SURFER: When you look at those who’ve followed, like Kelly and Andy, what is it about their surfing you most admire?

TOM CURREN: Everything. To me it’s just amazing what these guys are doing today. I was in the shop the other day watching this video of Kelly and, y’know, as best as I could do on my best day, he’s still going to blow me out of the water. It’s pretty cool. It’s exactly how you you’d imagine you’d want to surf.

SURFER: Are there areas where you think we’re still lagging, be they performance or equipment?

TOM CURREN: Personally, I do think boards are going to change very soon. We’ve been saying it for 10 or 15 years now, but I do think materials will change, and boards will be faster than they are now.

SURFER: So what will they offer? More flow and speed.

TOM CURREN: I think they’re already fast and loose, but they’ll be even faster and just as loose, and I think materials will have a lot to do with it.

SURFER: Is this your theory or just your hope?

TOM CURREN: Well, whatever these new boards are going to be, I’d like to have one (laughs). But the design Al and I are working on is an epoxy one, with a few twists. People are ready and open for change.

SURFER: Do you think pro surfing in the future can get to another level, or is this the next level?

TOM CURREN: Well, I think the team format, like they had in the X-Games, is a lot more exciting. Even if say, the first set goes to Team A and the next one goes to Team B, that would be pretty cool, so one team doesn’t get sent out in a lull heat. Obviously, surfing is an individual deal but there are a lot of problems that should be fixed: the commentators are commentating for the people in the water, not the crowd. There are giant gaps in the action, which is boring, and you have these venues where it’s man on man, so there’s a bunch of unridden waves running through. Those all have to be remedied if competitive surfing is to reach a new level.

SURFER: What’s your secret to staying motivated to surf now?

TOM CURREN: One thing is, regardless of where you are with your surfing, is to have a good board that you’re stoked on. The other thing after that is getting good surf, which is rewarding enough sometimes, but you also have to have good pals around. These days I’m less motivated to go and do these big surf travel trips because they feel like, well, they’re beautiful places but it feels a little more…it’s kinda been…it’s weird. The last trip I went on I felt--this is really horrible to say--but I was getting bored. I felt pretty bad about it too. It really threw me for a loop.

SURFER: So the novelty of surfing fun 3-foot waves at home is just as good for you?

TOM CURREN: Yeah, the neat thing about Santa Barbara is when it is good it’s really good. I still love Rincon and the crew out there.

SURFER: You ran with some pretty fun crews growing up in Santa Barbara didn’t you…

TOM CURREN: Yeah, even Sam and Matt George were a huge part of that era and the fun we had. They were always storytellers. We lived for their tales. They’d come back from a place like Australia and paint this vivid picture for us of the waves, the girls, everything, all the way down to the milk shakes. They drove me around a lot when I was about 14 or 15 and well, none of us ever had any money for real food so we lived off candy, that’s where the lion’s share of our funds went after we paid for gasoline. So Sam and Matt had come up with rating systems for chocolates and candy, and I still remember my first time going to Australia I went to visit the milk bar they told me about to get some chocolates and a shake.

SURFER: Classic…

TOM CURREN: Yeah, this place is a still a melting pot. There’re a lot of interesting characters here.

SURFER: What is it you want us to take away from Tom Curren in the end?

TOM CURREN: I guess, um, that really goes back to something about being a part of Santa Barbara. There’s this sort of mood here with guys like my dad, and Yater and Greenough and Al and even Kim Mearig, who was world champion…it’s a special place, and we’ve had a big impact, so if for nothing else, I just want to be remembered for being part of that tradition.