Rob writes: I quizzed a friend the other day about the North Shore.
“What’s the gnarliest thing you saw while you lived there?” I asked.
He didn’t hesitate. My friend relayed a story about a huge day—one of those massive swells that are too big for Sunset and too small for proper Waimea. The kind of day when no one paddles out between V-Land and the Bay.
On the afternoon in question, however, my friend was surprised to see a lone surfer casually walk down from Backyards with a big board under his arm, and then even more surprised to see him paddle out at Sunset Beach.
If you’ve ever seen a giant, semi-closed-out, 15- to 18-foot Northwest swell at Sunset, you know what this means: a horrific maelstrom mind-fuck of a lineup, with random closeouts, gigantic lefts where the rights should be, rip currents moving faster than you can paddle, and the occasional inside triple-up for good measure.
My idea of hell, actually.
So as my friend was telling this story, I was trying to guess who the surfer was. It had to be some sort of North Shore psycho, I speculated, so I was thinking along the lines of a Bradshaw or a Doerner or a Clarke-Jones.
My friend carried on with the story and told me that even more impressive than the guy sacking-up and paddling out was that this guy proceeded to rip the living snot out of huge Sunset… for hours…by himself.
Then he finally coughed up the guy’s name: Tom Curren.