Creativity and passion drive father-son duo towards unique racing career

Faces and Places of the Panhandle
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 11:44 PM CST
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SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A father-son duo in Santa Rosa Beach, FL both have artistically minded brains, but the way in which they express that creativity couldn’t be more different.

Curt Couch is a former business owner who began chasing his passion for art in 2008. He specializes in mixed media art which he sells mostly on a commission basis.

”I kind of stole this from my wife.. she’s always saying she doesn’t know what she’s gonna do when she ‘grows up’... Art is my passion, this is what I wanna do,” said artist and dad Curt Couch.

It’s no surprise then that Curt encourages his son, Will, to similarly follow his dreams. Will is also an artist, but rather than a canvas, his medium of choice, is a racetrack.

Drifting is the art of driving a car sideways in a controlled manner. Once a niche sport in Japan, the driving style and associated culture of drifting have now taken the world by storm. The cars are usually bright, loud, and bold, and the driving style is equally flamboyant.

Will’s car of choice is a Nissan S13, which he has heavily modified for the sport. The bright blue racecar checks every box of what’s expected from a Japanese drift car.

Unlike most forms of motorsport - where the goal is to simply be the fastest driver and cross the finish line first - drifting is a subjective sport. Drivers are watched by a panel of judges who score them based on the speed, precision, commitment, and proximity of their drifts.

Using his Nissan as a brush, Will creates art by beautifully sliding through multiple winding corners in one continuous drift. It’s a majestic, sometimes dangerous, and always exciting experience.

” Going down the hill at 100 miles an hour and pulling the e-brake and throwing the car sideways with another car in front of you or a car behind you - bumping you - as you’re going around those turns is quite exhilarating,” said Curt Couch.

“It’s so unattached from anything else going on, you’re so in the moment with drifting, you’re so in the moment with driving, that everything else around you just become quiet and it just turns off the rest of your world and I love that,” said Will Couch, semi-professional drifter.

Despite being only 23, Will has put himself in position to turn his passion into a lifelong career. But despite his short stint in the sport, it hasn’t been easy.

“There was a couple of times where I thought he was going to throw the towel in and just say ‘I’m done’, but he just finally said ‘I’m doing this myself. I’m gonna take it down to the frame, do it my way, even if I don’t know how to do it,” Curt Couch said.

Character traits like tenacity and relentlessness, though were passed down from father to son... Just like art was.

“It’s real rewarding to see he has Mom’s qualities and my qualities, and they both mesh; he has them both 100%,” said Curt.

But there’s one quality Curt believes everyone has.

”I think all people have creativity inside them.”

Whether it’s painting, sliding race cars, or something else, the Couch family is a perfect example of the importance of chasing your dream.