Style, power and aggression were the tenants on which Tom Carroll’s career were built.
It took him to two world titles, a number
of groundbreaking performances in heavy barrelling lefts (G-Land and Pipe most notably) and one of the most remarkable turns in surfing history (a late-drop-to- under-the-lip-hook at 10 foot Pipeline). Raised on Sydney’s northern beaches, TC was one of the early pioneers of professional surfing, joining the IPS World Tour in 1979. In a career that spanned single fins, twin fins and thrusters, TC’s squat stance, low centre of gravity and sublimely controlled speed through turns represented the pinnacle of style and performance. Although renowned for his vicious frontside attack, dominant performances at the 1982 Sunset World Cup, held in eight to ten foot conditions, set a benchmark for backhand surfing. He won world titles in 1982 and 1984, defeating the likes of Shaun Tomson and Tom Curren. He was also the infamous winner of the 1983 Wave Wizard event held at the world’s first wave pool in Pennsylvania. His performances in waves of consequence – particularly Pipeline where TC’s signature single-stripe board spray and Gath helmet rocketing out of
the tube – defined an era. Despite not winning the 1995 or 1997 Quiksilver Pro G-Land events, his frontside tube riding in both was mesmeric. He would also suffer several serious injuries, including a fin up his rectum, a ruptured stomach and a knee reconstruction. He would also battle substance abuse issues, though come the conclusion of his career still hold onto one of the most impressive competitive records in history, including nine top five finishes. Not to mention having spent more time inside a barrelling left than perhaps anyone. – JS


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