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Happy Birthday: Tom Carroll turns 50 today........

Tom Carroll : photo Renee Nowytarger/Australian


Happy Birthday Champ

Tom Carroll turns 50 today

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 25 November, 2011 : - - Tom Carroll turns 50 today. 'If this is old age, bring it on,' he says, fit as a fiddle. Tell us about these 50 years, Tom Tell us about the stand you took in 1985 when you boycotted the South African leg of the world tour because of apartheid, when you might have gained a little respect, inwardly and outwardly, but when you virtually forfeited a third world title. Was it worth it? Did it make a difference?

'It made a difference to Nelson Mandela,' Carroll says. 'I got to meet him when he was speaking at a function in Sydney. Bob Hawke introduced us. Bob told him about what had happened. Mandela looked at me and said: 'Thank you.'

"That was an amazing moment for me, just incredible. He was such a humble man. The suffering he went through but he comes out the other side with a humility that draws you in.

1987 Pipeline Master

Carroll's triumph at Pipe in '87 was up there with the most emotional, fearless and commanding victories pro surfing has seen. Less than 24 hours earlier, Carroll, then 26, was told his sister, Josephine, had been killed in a car accident. Carroll told no one. He entered another realm. An other-worldly indestructibility washed over him until he had finished attacking Pipe like no one had ever done, until he had won his first Masters trophy, and dedicated it to the sister he would never see again.

"Yep, I lost my sister, just such a shock -- anyone dying in a car accident, a death like that, well, how are you supposed to react? I had no idea. I went into this other world. Everything became trivial, everything. "I paddled out the next morning and it was big, serious Pipeline. Really thick and heavy. I didn't care. I didn't even look at the break until I got out there.

I had a confrontation with a surfer who was a particularly unpredictable kind of guy. He was kind of dangerous. Normally I would have been intimidated but I didn't give a stuff. He put me in a really, really horrible situation on a big wave -- pulled my leg rope as I was paddling, so I got pitched over the falls, straight on to the reef.

That was my first wave of the morning. I told the guy what I thought, and he was sort of backing off. I'd never seen him back off. There was something in that. That whole day. I was in just another zone. I was driven by something outside of my normal way of thinking. I had this overwhelming sense that I could do nothing wrong, that someone or something else was pushing me along. It was a really emotional day.

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Source: Will Swanton / The Australian

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