VHS-era world champ Tom Carroll tests digital-era wave pool
With a Wavegarden opening last month in Bristol, England and another set to open in January in Melbourne, Australia, legendary surfer Tom Carroll recently dropped past Wavegarden’s demo center in the Basque Country.
Tom exchanged a few Reef waves with local Basque pro surfer Aritz Aranburu and before sharing some small ones with a family of beginners.
“I am just observing a little family having a surf together”, said Tom on arrival, peering across at the beginner waves. “It’s hard to get it through my head that you can actually have a wave here in amongst this beautiful scenery.”
Tom’s gaze narrowed as the first expert waves peeled through the Reef area. “It actually reminds me of a really, really good version of my home break where I learnt how to surf. But this is like a perfect version of it” Tom said.
Aritz Aranburu was delighted to share the session with his childhood hero. “I grew up watching Tom in surf videos. He hasalways been my favourite surfer and it’s a real pleasure to surf with him today”.
Tom Carroll is no stranger to artificial waves, having won a world tour contest in one of the first wave pools ever made in Allentown, Pennsylvania back in 1985.
Carroll was a two-time juniors division winner in the Australian National Titles (1977 and 1978) and a two-time winner of the Pro Junior (1977 and 1980). As a world pro tour rookie in 1979, he made the finals in the Pipeline Masters, and finished the year ranked #24. After a steady climb up the ratings over the next three seasons—from 17th to 10th to third— Carroll earned his first world title in 1983, winning six of 13 events, and becoming the first goofyfooter to take the championship. The following year he won just two of 24 events and was pushed to the wire by 1977 world champion Shaun Tomson, but came out on top; in 1985 he lost the title to Californian Tom Curren.