Best Rip Curl Riders Of All Time

The Rip Curl legacy.

Tom Curren at The Rip Curl Bell Beach Easter Classic. WSL/Scholtz

It's as good a time as any to have a look back in the record books and pick out a few stellar Curl riders, along with some of their more contemporary team riders of the moment.

1. Tom Curren

When it comes to Tom Curren it’s hard to not talk in superlatives about everything. His back-to-back world titles were incredible, including 1985, when he boycotted the South African leg, but so much more came after that.

Surfing through the trials to another world title is a feat that would probably never be bested, if the World Surf League ever surfed trials events again. His inimitable performance at heaving Bawa in Indonesia on the fish will remain forever etched in the memory banks, as will his Tom Servais Backdoor cutback image that is one of the greatest surfing photos of all time.

2. Frankie Oberholzer

Once upon a time there was a little sunburned grom who used to rip a little double-up beach-break south of Durban. The little kid had a big smile on his face and had no idea how talented he really was. Then a one-eyed surfer from Australia spotted him, and mentioned to the boys at Rip Curl that this little kid called ‘Frankie’ might be a good addition to The Search program. Frankie Oberholzer spent the best part of the next decade playing guitar with Tom Curren and the rest of the crew, and finding and surfing the best waves in the world.

Right now Frankie is still a standout at New Pier and Supers when the waves are solid, and his smooth style is still a delight to watch.

3. Nathan Hedge

Hedgey was part of the Rio Curl team from a young age, and competed professionally as well as partook of The Search program. He was an impudent young grom who wasn’t shy of a good time or to have a few honest words on how he felt.

He dropped off the world tour in 2007 and spent a few years on The Grind, pushing himself through a bit of rehab for a healthy comeback in 2012. Despite a few wild card and injury slots, The Hog has not been able to requalify, but still holds a very dear spot in the history books of professional surfing. Check out his 10-point ride at the Billabong Pro at Supers in 2012 in which he hooks a solid set wave 7 times for the perfect score.

4. Shane Powell

A clean style and a fresh and smiling approach to pro surfing saw Shane a popular surfer amongst the pros and the fans alike. He was rated #2 in the world in 1992, but kept a very low-key approach to life in general. His surfing was smooth and loose, but lacked power in certain situations. He was a good addition to The Search team, and had a main part in Sonny Miller’s classic Search episode called Feral Kingdom.

5. Gabriel Medina

What can we say about the world champion? He is one of the best aerial surfers in the world, the best competitor in the world for 2014, an excellent barrel rider and a hard charger. Mr. Medina has legions of fans, and is already a national treasure back home in Brazil. He is young (21), extremely wealthy from surfing, has a great style in the water and has a long and illustrious career ahead of him, that most definitely incudes another world title at the very least.

He has been with Rip Curl since 2009, and has done some quite audacious turns while wearing their wetsuits over the years, including this 10-point air at the Quikkie Pro France


 7. Owen Wright

He has some massive wins under the belt, including the massive-pursed New York Pro (US$300,000),   and has been and is a world title contender. He’s really tall at 6’3, possibly the tallest pro on the tour, but uses his height to his advantage, especially on his backhand. He pivots off the bottom and hooks it so hard off the lip, using his lankiness as torque to get as much speed and power into his turns. His air game, for a big guy, is also very strong and has lots of flair. Owen’s a nice guy as well, and multi-talented Matt Griggs looks after him when he’s on the road, which can only make his approach even more solid.

8. Mick Fanning

Multiple times World Champion, fighter of White Sharks, donator of money to less fortunate, and his mum’s dearest friend, what’s not to love about Mick? He is a dedicated sportsman and has spent many hours in the gym, rehabilitating his way to success, and has his eyes firmly on another one coming in to the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal. If Mick wins the Rip Curl Pro, then De Souza will need to make a 5th round or better to take it to Hawaii. Mick’s dedicated approach to surfing has given him a physical edge over his competitors and his natural talent and well as his incredible speed (the fastest surfer in the world) has seen him all the way to his three world titles. He has been proudly surfing for Rip Curl forever as well, and will no doubt be flying that flag for a long time to come.