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Surfing has no age limits. It really can be a cradle to the grave sport. But as we age, it does become
a challenge to maintain our skills and motivation. That is, unless your name is Curren.

Pat Curren was one of the pioneers of surfing in the 1950’s and he still surfs today in his eighties!
His son, Tom Curren, was a three time World Champion and style master and in his fifties,
he still is influencing the sport of surfing.

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One day, we got a random email from Doug at Surf Country with a bunch of surf photos attached,
and little or no explanation..
Intrigued, we found out they were from the first big swell of 2016, taken by local surfer Ray Cook,
at Devereux Point and they had a pretty cool story behind them.
We’ll let Ray Cook tell the story….

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” The surf was running shoulder to even 3 or 4 feet over, thick and nasty!
There were about 5 or 6 six guys out off and on while I was there in the mid to late afternoon.

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My son Ian Cook, a goofyfooter, Paul Rubin, Mike Gowing, a friend of his who’s name I forget
and a few others.”

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Local Goleta charger Paul Rubin

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“Ian had called me and asked if I was finished surfing to come over and take some photos.”

— We remember this day, it got bigger as the day went on.-

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And Ian got some good ones.

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Ian Cook covered.

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Mike Gowing

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Unidentified, in the slot.

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Sharing is Caring.

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Ian Cook

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“Tom Curren arrived about an hour after I got there. I’ve been acquainted with Tom for several decades
so there’s no problem identifying him. He put his gear down right by me and Paul, was cordial as usual.
His weapon of choice that afternoon was his skim board with 3 fins that I’d seen in a video of him a week
or two earlier. He basically had to swim out with his board in tow into the line up and catch something
before he was swept out of the line up and down the beach with the current.
He got nailed a few times too, swimming out.”

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He caught all 3 waves he went for, and destroyed them.
That’s an eight foot drop, the wind is blowing hard. You can see the tip of his skim board
in white, which is a chunk of foam glued on for flotation!

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Tom put on an exhibition. The guy is from outer space! He swims a 5 foot skim board into well
overhead nasty surf and the perfect waves come to him.  The speed he got off his bottom turns was
amazing, very little wake or disturbed water coming off his board. Hauling ass..

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Paul, who himself is a very good surfer, said he’d never would have believed Tom
could have made that first barrel, a full curtain nightmare.
Check how that waves is sucking out over the rocks under him, fairly low tide.
Just getting that 5 footer into an 8 foot face is nuts to begin with.

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That’s his head at the top, this one I caught after his huge barrel.
I was shooting as fast as I could, hardly looking thru the lens here.

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He ripped the wave to pieces and rode it nearly 300 yards. After each wave, he walked back up
the rocky shoreline. There was no possible way for  him to paddle back in that surging water.
After the first wave he stopped by us and pulled out a saw and cut off some of the foam
he’d glued onto the top of his board!

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In this shot you can see the foam he put on the top of the tiny board for added flotation.

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He was stoked and talked to us how the wave and conditions were similar to Burleigh Heads in Oz.
Just one of his waves were better than the total of all the guys in the water.
He got one barrel that had to have been 5 seconds, a full close out.
Paul and I saw it thinking there’s no way he’s coming out let alone surviving such a pounding.

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I missed taking a shot of his big barrel because I knew he wouldn’t come out, much to my chagrin, he did.
After his third bomb, all were 200 to 300 yards long, he packed his gear,
saying his wife was waiting for him in the car.

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Paul Rubin was on a brand new Wayne Rich 5′ 11″ or something close to that size and thin,
not enough board for the conditions which makes Tom Curren look even more incredible.

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A meaty day, dirty water, lots of current. Everyone out had some balls. ”

Ray Cook has been surfing Goleta since 1968 and has raised two surfing sons, Ian and Gavin.
He still surfs a short board regularly, Ray’s seen a lot of big days, but this day watching Curren
left quite an impression on him.
Thanks for sharing your photos Ray!
See you out there..