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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Tom Carroll, 1981 (printed 2011)

Lorrie Graham

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 50.5 cm x 40.0 cm, image: 40.0 cm x 27.0 cm)

Tom Carroll (b.1961), former professional surfer, made the finals of the 1979 Pipe Masters on his first-ever world tour, finishing 24th in the world on his debut year. He continued to ascend from 17th to 10th to 3rd before taking the world title in 1983, becoming the first goofy-foot world champion. The following year he defeated veteran Shaun Tomson to win the championship again. Having boycotted the South African leg of the 1985 tour in protest against apartheid he fell behind Tom Curren. In 1988, he made history again by securing a million-dollar contract with surf outfitters Quiksilver. He retired in 1993 with twenty-six career world tour wins, three Pipe Masters victories (1987, 1990, and 1991), and two world titles. He was inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame in 1990, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Huntington Beach Surfing Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2010 he was named seventh on Surfer magazine’s list of the fifty greatest surfers of all time. Having (sometimes miraculously) avoided serious injury in the water, in recent years Carroll has also overcome a damaging addiction to crystal methamphetamine, as recounted in the biography TC (2013) and the ABC documentary Ice Wars (2017).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2011

Accession number: 2011.111

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Lorrie Graham

Tom Carroll (age 20 in 1981)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Interview with Tom Carrol video: 6 minutes
Interview with Tom Carrol video: 6 minutes
Interview with Tom Carrol video: 6 minutes
Interview with Tom Carrol video: 6 minutes

Tom Carroll

Portrait story

Regarded as one of the greatest surfers of all time, Tom Carroll describes his career.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.