Tom Carroll Shares Never Before Seen Portraiture From His Life On Tour


Anyone can click a button and take a picture. But it takes the right set of eyes to make it shine. Even in the fertile landscape of social media where you could be woken up by 56 snapchats of your best buddy throwing the most poetic kebab you’ve ever seen thrown at a taxi at two in the morning, photography remains a delicate balance of sign and signifier… and selfies. Lots of horrible selfies. There are even those who champion smartphone photography as an artform. And maybe it is? But we must for a moment appreciate the lost art of the developed image, especially when framed from an unexpected vista by an Australian sporting icon. Especially when taken from the days when taking a selfie wasn’t all that easy, or disposable.

Back then people didn’t risk precious rolls of film unless a really solid gold moment jumped out in front of them. And from his unique vantage point as one of the best wave riding men on the planet, Tom Carroll saw plenty. Somehow, inbetween champagne showers and foamball blowouts TC was able to capture 40 years of incredible pro surfing imagery and stuff them into boxes under his house. But these boxes were meant to be opened. And what the two times World Champion may lack in technical skill (an utterly ridiculous notion: TC rips the snap harder than Pipe ’91!) he makes up for in captivating subject matter from a life spent on tour. This is your portal into the radically potent pro surfing era of 1980-1985.

Tom held court last weekend in Torquay at the Quiksilver Boardriders Bar, where punters, elites and big wigs nibbled finger food and admired the fastest decade the tour has ever known, through the lens of professional surfing’s original million dollar man. Kelly was there. Steph was there. And RCJ too. Big bro and part-time model Nick Carroll was also there. As was Snake Patterson and his thoroughbreds J-Floz and the big Zeke, along with a handful of SW staffers who were last seen stuffing pastries into their jacket pockets. Checkout the gets from night…

Hugh Wyllie