Before Craig, before Dane, there was Frankie…
The Search campaign may seem a little shopworn now, even if the message still rings relatively true, but when it was launched in the early nineties it felt truly revolutionary.
The concept came from the writer and former pro surfer Derek Hynd, who, in 1991, wanted to create a sort of filmic energy between the three-time world champ Tom Curren and an unknown talent as they searched for waves in the Indian Ocean: the Mentawais, Mozambique etc.
That kid who was given the role and a four-year deal with Rip Curl was Durban’s Frankie Oberholzer (born 1972), who had learned to surf on an ironing board.
From Matt Warshaw’s Encylopedia of Surfing:
He proved to be a surfer of rare talent, with only a passing interest — and virtually no skill — in organized competition.
As a condition of his Rip Curl agreement, Oberholzer was not permitted to enter surf contests. The handsome longhaired surfer traveled often with Curren, further developed a technique based on equal parts grace, power, and flash, and was featured in more than a dozen surf videos throughout the ’90s, including The Search (1992), Beyond the Boundaries (1994), and Tripping the Planet(1996).
Frankie’s got a kid now, another shredder although not quite in his ballpark, as they say, and is making surfboards.