The Surf Gene - Are Great Surfers Born or Made?


In 1989, World Champ Tom Curren welcomed into the world a daughter, LeeAnn. Tom lived in France for several years with LeeAnn, her mother, and later a son, Nathan, before the couple separated and Tom moved back to the States. LeeAnn spent her childhood surfing the beachbreaks of Southern France with her younger brother, only visiting her father once or twice a year. LeeAnn developed as a surfer, eventually earning herself a slot on the Tour at age 19, and impressing the world with her impeccable style and grace.

Back in California, Tom remarried and had two more children, sons Frank and Pat, whom he raised in Santa Barbara. The boys grew up surfing with their father, gleaning the kind of intangible benefits and insight that constant contact affords. Today, both Pat and Frank are standouts on the Junior level. But all four of Tom’s children have undeniable ability.

The Currens serve as the perfect Litmus test for the surfing gene. In various combinations, nature and nurture have coalesced to create a family full of surf talent. It begs the question, were the Currens born with the genetic makeup of inherently talented surfers? Or is their ability something that was simply nurtured into being?


3 years ago

Hilarious that the article doesn't even mention Tom Curren's father, surfing legend Pat Curren:

3 years ago

Page 3:

But it doesn’t stop there. Tom’s father, Pat, was a legendary big-wave surf pioneer and shaper in the ‘50s, meaning Tom’s kids are the second generation of surfing greatness. They are among the first surfers with two doses of inherited ability.

“When I was growing up my dad used to make my boards, which was really cool,” says Tom. “I think he was a little surprised I did as well as I did, I was just really into surfing and my kids are the same way—they just love it...
... so I think it’s really important when we’re all together to try to enjoy the time we have with family and their grandfather, and try to get them connected with him.”

3 years ago

OK, I missed it, sorry...

Still, a bit puzzling in that quote to say the kids are the *second* generation!

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