...I kicked and clawed to catch a tiny two-footer, just as another piercing bolt of lightning split the sky in two above the little wooden shacks that sat perilously atop the headland. It wasn’t as though we didn’t see the fast-approaching storm, but the allure of five-foot perfection without a soul in sight can make a surfer do things that defy reason. Our elation, however, was short-lived as we made an adrenaline-fuelled scramble for the shoreline, dashed up the beach and sought safety beneath the veranda of an empty hotel.

Still dripping with saltwater, I reached shelter and turned to see another dark shape at the water’s edge. I initially thought it was my travel buddy, Kevin Schultz, but after a change in course revealed his silhouette, I realised that this man’s surfboard was far too short to be Kevin’s. In stark contrast to my helter-skelter bolt up the beach, he walked calmly, and as he drew closer, I could make out the signature, old and yellowed ‘skimboard’ tucked underarm. It was Tom Curren…

Read more in issue 577: On newsstands now or available in digital here