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Tom Carroll retired from pro surfing at the age of 33. Rabbit Bartholemew was only 29. You have to wonder if they ever regret that these days when surfers push their careers into their mid-30s and beyond.
To be fair, there are other options for a pro surfer these days beyond the tour that maybe T.C and Rabbit didn't have. They did find ways to stay in the sport and both are still respected waveriders in arenas around the world.
It's funny to think that age 35 used to be a half-decade off the radar. For the truly talented, there is no expiration date anymore. Legendary Cory Lopez was recently down in Costa Rica working with the kids at the O'Neill Summer Surf Camp. And just ask them who was squeezing into the most barrels and boosting the highest.
"I feel great. Surfing is so fun, it just never gets old," he told me this week, "And yeah, I see all these kids getting more technical with their airs and it's insane. They are definitely ripping. I especially like to watch John John. His airs are big and technical. For me, I have my moves I like and I know what I want to stay away from. I've always been about amplitude -- the bigger, the better. And that's what I want to see."
Check out this video of Lopez in France, Costa and Mex this summer as he proves it's possible to be a legend and a progressive surfer at the same time.