If you don’t know who Tom Carroll is, Google him. Brent Lamprecht and I sat down with him at Surfer to extract some knowledge that can’t be found online. We had a very good conversation about sports, his knee surgery, “Seinfeld” (we all agreed that everyone has a little George Costanza in them at times), and I couldn’t help but ask what this legend thought about social media.
We talked for about an hour, but I could only fit the meat and potatoes in the article. Oh, and a side note, if you haven’t Googled him yet, he’s Australian, so when you’re reading his text, use your Australian accent.
Spencer: Your competitive past?
Tom: Yea. That’s when I was reaching myself. Reaching deep, reaching in and extending. That’s what I like seeing. Using the potential of that talent because the talent is always there. Everyone’s got some sort of talent. We’ve all got something. If we kind of like don’t quite notice it, it will sort of pat us on the back, and then it will click. “Oh shit, I guess I can do that.” Ya know, that’s cool. Like, boom! The light goes on.
Brent: We were talking earlier (we, as in Brent and I) about watching Gabriel surfing Teahupo’o and everyone is like, “F***ing Gabe is such an asshole …”
T: Nah, that’s great.
B: That’s what I’m saying. I wish everyone on tour was like that. I want to see someone paddle battle for every wave.
B: I don’t want to see someone “gentleman’s” this s**t.
T: No! That’s crap.
B: When you were coming up, like did you ever give someone a wave?
T: No! It was so different in the ‘80s. Like, we were gnarly. It was dog-eat-dog. We were pretty intense.
B: Everyone on tour was Gabriel.
T: Yea, it was like that. I’m watching, and thinking what’s going on with these guys. Being all nice and s**t. Which is ok on land. But in the water, let’s get on — let’s do this shit — it’s on! And I think that’s coming back. I think seeing Julian do it. Like, he hadn’t done that s**t. I’m gonna post about it because I got stoked for him. Now you win. Like all that second s**t. He’s getting second, second, second.
T: I love seeing Julian surf.
S: Yea he’s super stylish.
T: Always over on the edge. And he’s got the killer bottom turn. Sets everything up. He’s got that kinda uuuhhh (that was a grunt with hand gestures of bottom turn/top turn combo).
S: I have one more question. I know you have to kick it soon, but I want to know how you think social media is affecting us?
T: It’s creating a lot of mental noise for me. A lot of times when I’m not really aware because I’m thinking about a whole other thing that I never thought of before. I’m wondering what that was like. Not having it because it takes a lot of space up in my mind. Mentally, it creates potentially kind of nervous noise. But it’s cool to sort of go into another world and sort of see what other people are doing. And how we can communicate with a whole load of people at once, which we never used to be able to do. It’s something really. What I’m feeling, it’s made that two-edged sword of human existence bigger. Ya know. It’s more pronounced and magnified. It’s just gonna show the good, the bad, and the ugly even more so. It’s not bad, or good. It’s just amplified.
T: I’ve been listening to that book “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s a cool book. We started using fire and cooking our food. By cooking our food, we basically created an external or prosthetic stomach, so we can easily digest proteins, we actually grew a whole new section in our brain, and that part of the brain created a whole new thing called an imagination. We can imagine how to kind of create a god — we can create all this stuff that is imaginary. Then we start to control, and get everyone on the same page. We could get 150 people together instead of a small band. Much more chances of survival with everyone on the same page in that group.
T: What’s happening now is we have a prosthetic brain. We’ve created this prosthetic fucking brain. And it’s just out there. Now, we see AI coming along, and God knows what they’re f***ing doing behind closed doors. It’s gonna get worse. Well, yea, humans we’re just like that. We’ve gotta do more stuff.
S: But, it burns at both ends. Ya know? If it’s going to get worse, it’s also going to get better.
T: Yea exactly. There’s challenge and support in everything.