Oceans Matter Podcast - Season 2 with World Champion Tom Caroll
Tom Carroll is a two-time world champion and Icon of the surfing world. We were lucky enough to sit down with him for a chat and talk about his life journey and we went deep. In typical Oceans Matter Podcast form we started from the very beginning, from getting his first surfboard and the ensuing expedition which led him to winning 2 x world titles, chasing the worlds biggest waves and now life after his competitive career ended.
Tom began surfing at the young age of 7 and quickly established himself as one of the top surfers in Australia taking The School Boy Titles in 78'. Tom describes the important relationships that formed with influential surfing figures such as his mentor Col Smit, that shaped him into the world class surfer. Col took Tom under his wing from an early age and developed his surfing both competitive and in a true essense of soul surfing, surfing to be the best version of your surfing self. Tom then went onto ride for Byrne surfboards and continued to develop his style into the worlds most dynamic and hard charging at the time. He was the golden child of Australian surfing with the world at his feet.
It wasn't all smooth sailing for Tom with a heavy knee injury that kept reoccurring and almost ending his career. Tom had to overcome this injury through surgery and hard training which instilled a sense of work hard and train harder for Tom. It shaped him to be the guy on the forefront of physical training in competitive surfing before anyone else was doing it. Tom worked his way back from these potentially career ending injuries with the help of a gun surgeon, who helped graft some of his hamstring onto his knee. This was extremely cutting edge medical technlogy back in the day and could have been lucky breaks tom needed to carry onto his winning success.
Tom went from strength to strength before going onto win his first world title in 1983 and added a second title in 1984, cementing his status as one of the sport's all-time greats.
Today Tom is widely regarded as one of the legends of the sport and continues to be an ambassador for surfing. The best part is he's not even done, going on from his competitive surfing career to conquer much of Australia's gnarliest and most undiscovered big waves and other dangerous slab waves in his "Storm Surfers" documentary stage of life with partner in crime Ross Clarke Jones.
His life of high moments had to have some lows to counteract it and his lows came in the form of falling into some drug dependency after his competitive career was over. We discuss the depths of these lows and what led tom to finding himself in this complex situation. More importantly Tom outlines the lessons that he learnt and the tools he has since picked up to make him a better equipped human dealing with for the stressors of life. Meditation is a practice that Tom utilises twice a day for 20 minutes and helps calm the mind and gain greater clarity. He now shares his knowledge through teaching it to other people, with the aim to help others calm their own head noise and make healthier decisions.
Today Tom is as stoked as ever and he looks like a 61 year old grom who is still get in the water pretty much every day surfing, foiling and big wave riding. His latest passion which has really bitten him has been foiling and keeps him in the salt most days of the week. Starting 5 years ago he says he definitely didn't know it was coming but is now completely hooked.