Mark Occhilupo was a young fiery Australian who stormed the World Championship Tour (WCT) with power unseen from any surfer, especially at the age of 17. Occhilupo’s, also known as Occy, strength under pressure ushered him into surfing’s most memorable heats.
Born June 16, 1966, in Kurnell, Queensland, Occhilupo hit the water nine years later. By 13, Occhilupo moved on to contests where just four years later, he made the move to the international circuit, riding in a top 16 slot. By years end, Occhilupo built a name for himself.
At the Op Pro, North America’s prime WCT event, Occhilupo surfed against Tom Curren, America’s surfing poster boy. The heats made America take notice of Occhilupo. His surfing career in 1987 enabled him to jump into Hollywood with a role in “North Shore”.
But the most popular surfer faced a fierce battle against himself. Years on the tour burned him out. He lost focus. He lost his desire to surf. The young aggressive surfer faded away from the ’80s spotlight and into a subdued existence.
As the years passed, the time away gave Occhilupo a clearer vision of his goal, dominate the world circuit by an incredible comeback. In 1995, he re-entered the surfing arena proving he could still capture a title. With some major wins under his comeback belt, Occhilupo stunned the surfing world with a world title in 1999 at the age of 33.