Curt Harper's beautiful story of autism, friendship and surfing

July 1, 2015 | Surfing
Curt Harper: young at heart

"Curt: The Story of Surfing's Oldest Grom" is a heart touching documentary about Curt Harper, probably the best-known surfer in Southern California.

Curt was diagnosed with autism as a child. In the past two decades, he became a beloved character in the central Californian surf spots. Filmmaker Brendan Hearne followed his footsteps and revealed his story.

"When Curt was about 10 or 11, he came to me and said: 'Dad, can I learn how to surf?' I instantly said: 'Yes.' Best decision I've ever made for as Curt was concerned," tells Curt's father.

With time, Curt Harper met and made friends with many families. As the relationships grew, our man started taking children surfing, when their parents couldn't.

Initially, fathers and mothers wouldn't trust Curt but, as time passed by, they understood that he could drive, he knew everybody, and he was a good influence for the groms. Dane Reynolds was one of the kids who went surfing with Curt.

"Every generation of groms grows up going surfing with him, seeing him in contests, hanging up with him. Everybody that surfs in Southern California knows Curt. He's famous," reveals Reynolds.

Kids love a good "grom beating" with Curt. Even when some parents are mean to him. But he's cool with that. He works at William Morris Endeavor, an American talent agency, for 17 years. His salary is channeled to pay food, rent, and surf trips. He just loves what he does.

Curt Harper says he knows the whole railway system in the United States. And we believe him. His story is the proof that life is a blessing.

"If I wasn't a surfer, I would be a Kentucky State policeman," he says. Thank you for being who you are, Curt.

The Summer Surf Gear Guide 2019