The Story of Surfing's Oldest Grom
This short documentary produced by Brendan Hearne tells the story of 50-year-old competitive surfer Curt Harper. Harper was diagnosed with autism when he was around two years old. His parents had noticed that he was ‘different’ and so they took him to a doctor. The doctor advised Curt’s parents to institutionalize him, but thankfully they decided to ignore this and take their boy home.
Because of autism, Curt faced numerous challenges when he was growing up. However from early on, there was one thing he never had to struggle with; he learned to surf at the age of ten and has been doing it ever since. His father states that when Curt asked him for permission to surf, he didn’t hesitate to give him his blessing. He believes that was the best decision he ever made regarding his son’s future.
When he was 19 years old, his parents turned a studio in the back yard into a room for him so he could have some independence. He has been living there for thirty years. Curt has held down a steady job for seventeen years too and he uses his salary to pay his bills and fund his passion.
Everybody that surfs in Southern California knows Curt. He has been taking young kids surfing for years. Pro surfers look back and remember with gratitude that had it not been for Curt, they might not have had the opportunity to surf as much and go on to win awards.
Curt’s dream was to become a policeman, and he proudly states that if it hadn’t been for his love of surfing, he would have made it to Commissioner by now. It comes as no surprise that his favorite television show is Cops.
Curt Harper is an amazing man with a gentle heart who is also an inspiration to all who know him. Watch this film now.
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