3. Tom Blake
Born in Milwaukee in 1902, Tom Blake became famous and eventually change the face of surfing. Being a lifeguard in 1924, Blake began surfing after proving himself as a talented swimmer, even competing against The Duke. He took seasonal trips to Hawaii as surfing was injected into his blood.
In addition to his contributions through surfing performance, it was surfboard design which cemented his place in the history of the sport. During Blake’s time, the solid redwood surfboards were extremely cumbersome, but he experimented with hollow boards which might lighten the surfing load. In 1926, he created the first hollow board that lightened the standard board a whopping 60 pounds, leading to a spike in surfing performance and helping the surfboard become basic equipment for lifeguards.
In 1928, Blake won the initial Pacific Coast Surfriding Championships in California and in 1930, he took part in creating the first waterproof camera. Moreover, he then became the first to attach a fin to a surfboard.
4. Tom Curren
On his road to his first 2 world championships, Tom Curren‘s clashes with Mark Occhilupo became legendary. Any surfer from the ‘80s will remember these shattering moments which were immortalized in videos and plastered across magazine pages.
Competitive greatness was not Tom Curren’s swan song but he fashioned a path which would lay the groundwork for many of the present’s pro careers. He embarked on boat trips to wonderlands that had never been surfed, let Sonny Miller film them and packaged them as “The Search” series, a beautifully filmed journey that was spiced with jazz and rock tunes, some of which were performed by Curren himself.
In 1990, he roared back to competition, which laid claim to the first event of that year at the Coldwater Classic in order to make a red hot Gary Elkerton look shaky in comparison. He convincingly won a third world title after having surfed through the trials of every event that year.