"There were so many mental adjustments to make," Merrick says. "To peer pressure, to being newly married, to being away from home for so long. And when it comes to money, those guys can be ruthless.
"But Tommy's right on schedule—we said it would take three full years. He has to remember that being a great surfer requires clarity of mind. You need to make split-second decisions, whether to take a wave or wait. It's instinctive, flowing. Tommy had lost his sense of balance. He was grasping for things, taking waves he shouldn't, passing up ones he should."
But Curren came out of his "funk" in style. He returned to Australia in March and won the first event of '85, the Stubbies Classic in Burleigh Heads, Queensland; finished third at the Beaurepaires in Sydney; and then closed the season with another victory, in the Bell's Easter Classic in Victoria, for a second Grand Slam title. To be noted: At the Stubbies, three of the top four finishers (Curren, Mike Parsons in second place, and Hans Hedemann, tied for third) were Americans, an ASP record.
In surfing, the New Wave has finally landed.