Tim Curran Interview

Tim Curran has been a major force in the progression of surfing since the age of sixteen when he burst out of sleepy Ventura, California and alley-ooped his way onto the big screen. His appearances in a string of Taylor Steele videos, in addition to his ASP World Tour accomplishments, have made him a bona fide surf star. He’s known for his amazing aerial abilities and clean, fluid style. His nice-guy image is in stark contrast with the party-boy mentality of most top aerialists, but he’s proof that nice guys don’t always finish last. Now with a wife, a video-game character, and a supportive sponsor, Tim Curran is ready to take on the world, again.-C*

The Good Guy

You’ve always been known as a good guy-an angel, some would say. Is that a choice or does it just happen?
I think it’s been my choice. I’ve asked people to think of me as an angel. No, just kidding. I think it comes from being a Christian and believing in God. I’m as far from an angel as anyone. I just try to live a good life, be a good role model, and do my best.[IMAGE 1]So you don’t drink or do drugs?
I’ll go out and have fun with my friends. I’ve drank before, but I wouldn’t say I’m a drinker-it’s on very few occasions. I definitely don’t do drugs and have no desire to. I try to be a good person.

The tour seems like it’s a big party. Are you ever in weird party situations?
It’s kind of wild being on tour, but I’ve never been one who’s psyched to go party. I’ve always been mellow. I like to go to sleep and get up early to go surf, golf, or whatever. I never feel good in the morning after partying. I don’t think anyone does. The tour is mellow if you’re on your own trip, and I usually am.

Home

You grew up in a part of Oxnard known for its badass locals who might punch you if you paddle out. How did you, a nice guy, fit into this heavy local scene?
I think that I’m probably on the other side of the whole localism scene. I’ve been mellow; I just go out there and surf. It localism is kind of the opposite of me.

Did you ever take heat for having sponsors and being in magazines?
Not to my face. There’s not much I could do about it. I’m proud of where I live, so with me propping it, there’s gonna be people who are bummed out. The last thing I’m gonna do is say, “I’m from Oxnard, and I’m not proud of it.” Where I came from has made me the surfer I am today. All the locals have been supportive, but I’m sure they’re a little bummed because I’ve brought attention to Silver Strand.

Surfing

How did your surfing career start?
I started off by getting a board from my dad, and he told me to go out there and have fun. I was addicted after the first wave I stood up on. My parents grounded me to keep me out of the water because that’s all I ever thought about. Then it was about surfing all day and competing with Aaron Fradette, Dan Malloy, and a couple of my other friends back home. That kind of got out of hand ’cause we’re all very competitive-it raised the level for all of us. Those guys being a part of my life from then all the way to today is a huge part of where I’m at now. I think you need competition when you’re growing up. I get amped watching those guys surf. With my brothers Josh and Nathaniel coming up, there’s so much talent where I live. It’s awesome for surfing.

As far as my career goes, I think everything started when I got third in that PSAA contest at C Street in Ventura. That was my first pro contest, and I was like, “Whoa, maybe I could do this.”

How old were you?
Sixteen.[IMAGE 2]But you had been sponsored for a while before that?
I had Billabong, Arnette, and McCrystal as sponsors. McCrystal Surfboards has been backing me since I was eleven-before I was anything.

So McCrystal was your first sponsor?
McCrystal was my first sponsor ever. I remember hearing that there was this guy who shaped boards. Then I heard Aaron Fradette was sponsored, so I wanted to be sponsored, too. Casey McCrystal surfed with us when we re super young and told us, “Yeah, I’ll shape you some boards and get you on the program.” We were freaking. I totally remember my first board. Getting a board shaped for me that was light … I mean, I couldn’t surf at the time at all, but I just felt like it was on, you know. That’s one reason why I’ve stuck with Casey for so long, besides his boards being good. He put everything behind us years before we were anything.

When did you start doing airs?
I totally remember the first air I ever did. I was going down the line, bottom-turned, and right when I did, this backwash hit me, and I just launched. I wasn’t trying or anything, but I almost pulled it. I was young, I just remember going in the air and coming down with my feet still on the board. I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, that’s it. That’s all I want to do.” From then on, I was like doing-doing-doing-every wave I would try an air.

Did you invent the alley-oop?
No. I wish. Maybe I did it in a different way, but I know Fletcher did it before me. I’m sure people did it before. The fact that one of the first ones I ever did was on video made it cool for me and the movie ’cause it was a move that was a little bit different.

Which movie?
Focus-my first part in a Taylor Steele movie. How did it feel at the premiere knowing your part was coming up?
Crazy. To go back, I remember talking to Chris Malloy, you know he was in all the movies before that, and I heard that Taylor was coming up to Ventura to film the Malloys. I remember asking, “Chris, could you just, like, throw a little word in for me, or let me just cruise?
” I figured if I could film or even surf next to them I’d be so stoked. At least I could try to show off. I guess Chris talked to him Taylor and said, “Yeah, you should meet this kid Tim.” A little bit before that I was working on the alley-oop, and I thought, “If he sees this, it could be my break.” So Taylor asked to hook up, and I told him about this new thing I was working on. The first month I just tried alley-oops, and Taylor said, “If you can pull one of those, I’ll for sure give you a wave in the movie.” So it was on. I remember going for a hundred before I pulled that one. It ended up coming down to the last day before I pulled it. We had a lot of other stuff, so Taylor said, “We’ll see what happens.” Everything happened in an awesome order: the contest, getting a little buzz, meeting with Taylor, then doing the alley-oop made it all happen. [IMAGE 3]So you’ve been in every Taylor Steele video since?
Yeah. I’ve been fatal on Taylor. When and how did you get on the tour?
It was the closest thing I can think of to … it’s been a nightmare. I remember getting kind of close when I was sixteen. I got third. Then I got close again, but thought I’d wait ’til the next year. It ended up taking three more years after that. I got big sponsors and contracts; the pressure was on-not by them, but by me. I remember calling home from Spain and France so many times going, “Mom, I’m over it. I quit. I hate contests. I’m coming home. My sponsors are gonna be mad, but I don’t care, I’m over it.” I wanted to live up to the hype and wasn’t. I was years from it. I was young-I was only seventeen. A lot of people don’t understand. It’s great to get big sponsors, be in movies, and have all this hype. But at the same time, now you have to live up to it. If you’re not and really far from it, it’s hard. Your humility is smashed. I remember coming in from another heat I’d just lost, so far from home. I’d been gone for six weeks, the zipper of my suit got stuck, and I just lost it. I couldn’t handle it-I just ripped the neck off my suit. But after a few years you got on the tour. What were the first few years like?
The WCT?
Yeah.Not what I expected. I thought it was gonna be this big ol’ thing where the surfers were catered to-you know, the coolest thing ever. It was so far from that. You go to ASP meetings and everybody’s brawling and yelling. Nobody is agreeing on anything. People want to help but there’s so many politics in it. I don’t know, it’s not what I thought it was.

What about the tour now?
I haven’t been on it since they’ve raised the money. It’s not even about that, there’re a million different things that are still the same and most likely will never change. It’s so hard doing the WCT and the WQS. The year I did both, I got like twenty-ninth or something. The next year I decided to concentrate on the WCT, and if I fell off, I fell off. That was the year I got sixth.

Do you surf big waves?
I charge really big waves. As big as they come, I’ll charge ’em. No, just kidding. There’s a difference. There’re big waves, and then there’re really big waves. I like big waves, but I’d drown doing tow-ins and outer reefs. I think I know my limits. Surfing Teahupo’o at eight feet.

What about Teahupo’o?
That’s a heavy wave-one of the heaviest in the world, by far. But it’s perfect. I had a heat with Rob Machado two years ago where it was like six to eight feet, absolutely perfect. My heart was in my throat, but it was fun. I like big waves, but I don’t think of myself and I don’t think anybody thinks of me as some big charger. Maybe down the road.

How is it being the guy on the new Op?
It’s been awesome. I was hesitant about it at first. My K2 thing didn’t go so well, so I wondered, “Is this gonna be another company that just falls?” But ever since I started riding for them, it’s been awesome. I have a lot of input. I get excited to go in and work with all the people there. Dick Baker and the people who work there are awesome.[IMAGE 4]

Do you make good money?
Yeah, I make decent money. I’m really happy with my deal at Op. I want to figure out a way to do this for the next ten years. I think what they’ve done with me has been great and feel like it could be a good long deal. I don’t want to ride for anyone else.

Video Game

Tell us about the video game. When someone came to you and said TransWorld SURF was doing a video game, what did you think?
I lost it. Just for the fact that I saw what Tony Hawk’s video game did for him, and to be a part of something that’s going to benefit the sport of surfing and myself. Even seeing my younger brothers’ friends all stoked that I’m in a video game.

Was it weird seeing you on-screen as a character?
So creepy-the guy looks just like me.

Do you play it?
I played it for three months. Then Christmas came around and I gave it to my little brother Taylor. He plays it constantly. My parents are losing it.

Do you think the game could help progress the sport?
Yeah, totally. You play it and think of new tricks. Before we even started working on the game, they told me to start thinking of new tricks. It inspired me to come up with some new stuff for real surfing. I remember telling them they should do this roll thing, and then Barney did it in real life. It’s awesome. I’m just really stoked to be a part of it.

Huge props to TransWorld for that.

Family

How are your brothers?
Josh surfs really well. He’s got the best style of the family. He’s really mellow. Then we have Nathaniel, the contest demon. He rips, does huge airs, and competitive-wise he scares me down the road. I have to stay on my toes. The better he does, the harder I want to work. He’s been blowing up. I got into golf for a while, but I haven’t golfed in six months ’cause I’m thinking I’d better get serious. I can’t let my little brother come up on me.

You recently got married. How has that changed you?
It’s amazing. I couldn’t be happier. I’m madly in love.

Are you a grown up?
Yeah, I’m a grown up now. I’m married, I have a house-oh yeah, I’m totally grown up laughs. I’m kidding. I’m a kid! When you get married everybody’s like, “What about kids?
” No way, I’d get raised by my kid. I’m a spaz. In my mind I’m sixteen. That’s probably why I’m so competitive with my younger brother, ’cause I’m right there with him-ly is agreeing on anything. People want to help but there’s so many politics in it. I don’t know, it’s not what I thought it was.

What about the tour now?
I haven’t been on it since they’ve raised the money. It’s not even about that, there’re a million different things that are still the same and most likely will never change. It’s so hard doing the WCT and the WQS. The year I did both, I got like twenty-ninth or something. The next year I decided to concentrate on the WCT, and if I fell off, I fell off. That was the year I got sixth.

Do you surf big waves?
I charge really big waves. As big as they come, I’ll charge ’em. No, just kidding. There’s a difference. There’re big waves, and then there’re really big waves. I like big waves, but I’d drown doing tow-ins and outer reefs. I think I know my limits. Surfing Teahupo’o at eight feet.

What about Teahupo’o?
That’s a heavy wave-one of the heaviest in the world, by far. But it’s perfect. I had a heat with Rob Machado two years ago where it was like six to eight feet, absolutely perfect. My heart was in my throat, but it was fun. I like big waves, but I don’t think of myself and I don’t think anybody thinks of me as some big charger. Maybe down the road.

How is it being the guy on the new Op?
It’s been awesome. I was hesitant about it at first. My K2 thing didn’t go so well, so I wondered, “Is this gonna be another company that just falls?” But ever since I started riding for them, it’s been awesome. I have a lot of input. I get excited to go in and work with all the people there. Dick Baker and the people who work there are awesome.[IMAGE 4]

Do you make good money?
Yeah, I make decent money. I’m really happy with my deal at Op. I want to figure out a way to do this for the next ten years. I think what they’ve done with me has been great and feel like it could be a good long deal. I don’t want to ride for anyone else.

Video Game

Tell us about the video game. When someone came to you and said TransWorld SURF was doing a video game, what did you think?
I lost it. Just for the fact that I saw what Tony Hawk’s video game did for him, and to be a part of something that’s going to benefit the sport of surfing and myself. Even seeing my younger brothers’ friends all stoked that I’m in a video game.

Was it weird seeing you on-screen as a character?
So creepy-the guy looks just like me.

Do you play it?
I played it for three months. Then Christmas came around and I gave it to my little brother Taylor. He plays it constantly. My parents are losing it.

Do you think the game could help progress the sport?
Yeah, totally. You play it and think of new tricks. Before we even started working on the game, they told me to start thinking of new tricks. It inspired me to come up with some new stuff for real surfing. I remember telling them they should do this roll thing, and then Barney did it in real life. It’s awesome. I’m just really stoked to be a part of it.

Huge props to TransWorld for that.

Family

How are your brothers?
Josh surfs really well. He’s got the best style of the family. He’s really mellow. Then we have Nathaniel, the contest demon. He rips, does huge airs, and competitive-wise he scares me down the road. I have to stay on my toes. The better he does, the harder I want to work. He’s been blowing up. I got into golf for a while, but I haven’t golfed in six months ’cause I’m thinking I’d better get serious. I can’t let my little brother come up on me.

You recently got married. How has that changed you?
It’s amazing. I couldn’t be happier. I’m madly in love.

Are you a grown up?
Yeah, I’m a grown up now. I’m married, I have a house-oh yeah, I’m totally grown up laughs. I’m kidding. I’m a kid! When you get married everybody’s like, “What about kids?
” No way, I’d get raised by my kid. I’m a spaz. In my mind I’m sixteen. That’s probably why I’m so competitive with my younger brother, ’cause I’m right there with him-like, bring it, dog. I’m still learning. Life is constantly throwing me obstacles.

Thank yous?
Dylan McLaughlin, Shanoa’s brother; Tim Rhodes; Road West, the band-hopefully people will be as fatal as I am on that band one day; Taylor, my little brother, he needs a big one-watch out for him, he’s seven, he’s coming up; and TransWorld SURF for the video game.im-like, bring it, dog. I’m still learning. Life is constantly throwing me obstacles.

Thank yous?
Dylan McLaughlin, Shanoa’s brother; Tim Rhodes; Road West, the band-hopefully people will be as fatal as I am on that band one day; Taylor, my little brother, he needs a big one-watch out for him, he’s seven, he’s coming up; and TransWorld SURF for the video game.