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Curren vs Occy In The 1986 Rip Curl Bells Beach Classic

Forget the turns: what about Occy’s hair-flick at 50 seconds? Is that the best, most flamboyant hair-flick in surfing history? Could a single moment encapsulate the 80’s more perfectly, for that matter, than Mark Occhilupo dressed in a turquoise and neon-green wetsuit, raising both arms slightly as he tosses his head backwards with such timing and intent it almost overshadows the backhand belt he’s just administered to the lip?

The surfing is not bad either, in fact it has often over the years been labelled the best man-on-man heat ever — so high was the standard of surfing in comparison to anything else going on at the time, so intense the rivalry between Curren and Occy. Watching the way both surfers straighten out towards the beach before coiling into their bottom turns is nearly enough to bring a tear of nostalgic joy to the eye, and makes the heart sing.

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