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Thread: Pat Curren

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003

    Pat Curren

    What an honor it was to hang with this man this weekend. Turns out my 2nd cousin is love with Pat and has a beautiful little girl by him. I worked this weekend with them down in Driggs, Idaho on their straw bale house. A few of my relatives had told me he was a "pro surfer", but I had nothing to base it on. I had heard of Tom Curren but not his father.

    Just did a few Googles and found some background. He is the man! Very humble and very cool.


    Good Article -

    More background -

    Waimea 1962

    Pat Curren (August 8, 1932-)

    A lone figure sits well beyond the pack, oblivious to the circus going on inside.

    Shortboards snaking longboards. Longboards snaking bodyboards. Callous competition for nature's harvest. Through it all, he sits, alone in his world.

    No one else even sees the set coming. By the time they take notice, he is several long strokes into it, up and streaking past, making his way through the buoys and driftwood. By the time it occurs to them -- "Whoa, that's Curren!" -- he's gone, board strapped to the roof of his buggy, disappearing into the dunes.

    Today it's Cabo, but soon that, too, will pass, just like California, the North Shore and Costa Rica. Pat Curren will move on.

    As a La Jolla youngster, Curren didn't start surfing until the age of 18, in 1950. By 1957, he was among the Waimea pioneers -- the first to surf the ominous Bay and the best at building boards for it.

    After shaping for Dale Velzy back home, he made the jump from Windansea to the North Shore in 1955. Surfing wasn't so much about talent then; a lot of rail and a lot of guts were all you needed. Curren didn't train. There was no running underwater with boulders -- instead, there was a lot of kicking back with cigarettes and beer. He dove for his food, and that was enough. When it came down to it, he could paddle with anyone.

    A lifestyle was built around the Bay in the late '50s. What had been taboo was broken, and despite the danger, or because of it, a cult took form -- Greg Noll, Fred Van Dyke, Mickey Munoz, Peter Cole, Ricky Grigg, Buzzy Trent. By crafting the first legitimate big-wave guns and taking off as deep as anyone, Curren became the cult's reluctant leader -- a title he never wanted and never felt comfortable with.

    Then came the family. In 1961, he married Jeanine and soon gave up on Hawaii. The Currens returned to California, and Tom was born in 1964. Two more children, Anna and Joe, came later.

    In 1980, as Tom emerged as the best surfer in the world, Pat packed his tools and left for the solitary jungles of Costa Rica. He operated best on his own terms and was visited by his son only once. When Costa Rica got too crowded in the late ‘80s, Cabo called. He has since surfed with both Tom and Joe on several occasions, including travels to new destinations.

    Today Curren has his trailer, his dog, his tools and his boards, and that's all he needs. He stills crafts the occasional classic Waimea spear, just like the ones he made 40 years ago. There's one difference, though: these beauties are for collectors, not surfers. They will never see water, and that must be a hard thing for Curren to swallow. --Jason Borte, October 2000

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2018

    RE: Pat Curren

    Cool story!
    I own an old Surf van that was said to be owned by Pat and/or your cousin in Encinitas, CA.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    The Wilds of Maine
    Wow what?? Pat Curren has a house in Driggs?
    "We're in the eye of a shiticane here Julian, and Ricky's a low shit system!" - Jim Lahey, RIP

    Former Managing Editor @ TGR, forever mag.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Salt Lake City
    Great share. Grew up in San Diego, and have spent many a day at Windansea. Remember seeing surfers rebuild the grass shack after storms.

    This story reminds me of some of the OG stories from The Pump House Gang (really cool book if you haven't ever heard of it).

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