"It’s sad to see the negative comments being said from people who don’t know the whole story."
Two days ago, it was revealed that eighty-eight-year-old Pat Curren, big-wave surfboard pioneer, father of three-timer Tom, was living in his van in an Encinitas carpark with his wife and special-needs kid.
A shaper from Rockaway Beach in New York, Paul Schmidt, who bumped into the legend’s wife, Mary, at the Swamis carpark had set up a GoFundMe account in response.
The goal was a hundred gees to help Pat fix up his ruined teeth, get the fam off the food relief train and so on.
Schmidt wrote in part,
Pride can be a beautiful thing. The pride Pat has taken in his work which bears his name is evident to even those far outside the surf world. But when we are in moments of dire need, when we’ve exhausted all viable options on our own, it is through simple acts of honest vulnerability that we can open ourselves to the inherent kindness in each human being’s heart.
Today, August 9th, Pat turns 88 years old. We have an opportunity to lift up and support someone who has devoted his entire life to being the very thing others have commodified, and packaged, and sold, and made millions feeding to the surf-hungry masses.
While most of the surf world went the way of carbon copy machine cuts and overseas production outsourcing, Pat chose to do it his way. He has stood as a guiding light for the younger generation of by-hand board builders, of which I find myself a part, for 70 years. 70 years and hardly a penny to show for it.
Mary told me once, “What people don’t understand about Pat is that he would give somebody the shirt right off his back with no idea if he’d get another one.
A common theme from readers was, why aren’t his kids Tom and Joe helping the old man out.
Today, Tom’s younger brother Joe, who achieved a modicum of fame as a pro surfer in the nineties films of Taylor Steele but who now makes a living as a photographer, woodworker and art framer, responded on his IG.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions and reading stories about a go fund me campaign recently set up for my dad asking for $100,000 to help him with financial issues. Yes, it’s true he’s struggling financially. The truth is, this has been going on for a long time. I speak for all of the Curren family when I say we love and care about my dad very much. My brother Tom and I, my sisters Anna and Malie, my dad’s brothers Mike and Terry and the entire family have all have been quietly trying to help him, doing the best we can, for years and years. It has been challenging and complicated, and we have always run into a major road block.
We don’t know the person who started the go fund me. We first heard about the campaign Sunday morning on my dad’s birthday, after it was launched. We were surprised and disappointed that we were not notified about the campaign beforehand. We’ve always respected my dad’s wish to keep this kind of stuff private. Now it’s gone public. Its nice to see the positive statements being made about my dad. It’s sad to see the negative comments being said from people who don’t know the whole story. We hope my dad gets the money, he deserves it.
Interesting enough, but more revealing is the friction between Joe and Paul Schmidt.
@joecurren it most certainly is – a world where we are more connected than ever to the broader community of surfers and those who’ve been inspired by people like your father, and yourself. We are grateful to be a part of it and to see all the compassion and support for your family
@paul.surf We’re all having a difficult time understating why we weren’t contacted before this was launched.
@joecurren I don’t think you are, I fully understand, and have explained in my past correspondence with you that this was a gesture made on behalf of your father and Mary, who are my friends. I was given permission by them to create the campaign and to post the story. They have had a hand in every step of the process. It was not my place to contact you, as I do not know you. If either Pat or Mary wanted to contact you, I imagine they would have. 50k and counting 🙂 we are excited for Pat and Mary to received some no-strings-attached help from all of the people in the community who support and care for them. 🙏
@joecurren I’ll be sure to pass that message on to Pat and Mary for you.
I speak for the entire Curren family when I say, it would have been the right thing to do
@joecurren not sure why you deleted your original comment, but again, I’ll be happy to pass that message on to Pat and Mary.
A few other readers turned on Schmidt, one writing, “Gag me with a spoon.”
Read the fascinating thread here, Taylor Steele, Taylor Knox, Akila Aipa and a few other noteworthy surf names lighting up in there.