Outposts

Outdoors, action, adventure

Category: Event Review

Life of iconic, schizophrenic surfer Michael Peterson explored in documentary now touring Southland

MP_by_Peter_Crawford

Any fan of iconic surf films will know the footage of rising Australian icon Michael Peterson in the movie, “Morning of the Earth.” Shot during the cyclone season of 1970 in Kirra, Queensland, the breakout performance of “MP” has been a point of obsession for almost 40 years; in it, he is supremely confident, handsome, animated, clearly a gifted athlete who, like the warriors in the Homeric epics, has the “shine” on him and is leading the field in a new direction.

It was an auspicious debut that not only foretold MP’s total domination of Australian surfing from 1972 to the 1977 Burleigh Heads contest that was the birth of the modern competitive surf tour – but also gave a glimpse of his strange and soon-to-be legendary intensity. That intensity gave way to bizarre and antisocial behavior, like hiding in the bushes after winning the 1975 Bells Beach contest and letting Ian Cairns accept his prize check for him.
 
That intensity that would also later find its root and bloom into uncontrolled paranoid schizophrenia, a brooding life as a recluse, drug use, a chaotic car chase to prison, and finally a life of relative obscurity. In his wake, MP left one of the strangest legacies of any modern sports champion.

A moving new film about MP, “Searching for Michael Peterson,” is making its debut tour and is in Southern California this week. Because Peterson rarely gave interviews, and when he did they were strangely brusque, Australian filmmaker Jolyon Hoff rightly focuses the piece on outstanding footage from the contests of the era and interviews with many of MP’s Australian contemporaries.

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Kobe Bryant gives shirt off back for youth fishing program

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Kobe Bryant isn't a fisherman but a jersey he signed and donated to the 976-TUNA Youth Fishing Program sold for $775 at last week's Fred Hall's Fishing Tackle and Boat Show at the Long Beach Convention Center.

During the show's five-day run, fishermen were able to bid on various items, including Los Angeles Lakers memorabilia. Former player and current assistant coach Brian Shaw, and ex-player Flynn Robinson, have been ambassadors for the program for the past several years.

976-TUNA founder Philip Friedman said about $10,000 was raised for a program that treats inner-city and disadvantaged children to saltwater fishing excursions.

The top Lakers item was an "MVP Canvass" featuring signed renditions and photographs of Bryant, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal.

Surprisingly, signed jerseys of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Derek Fisher received no bids. Jordan Farmar's jersey sold for $400.

About $4,000 was raised through a wheel-spin for a $5,000 diamond donated by Newport Jewelers. It was claimed by Ventura's Erika Simo.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo courtesy of 976-TUNA

 

Stephanie Gilmore, reigning world surfing champion, prevails at season-opening Roxy Pro

Stephanie Gilmore carves a top turn en route to winning the season-opening Roxy Pro Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks in Australia.

Parity has not existed on the Assn. of Surfing Professionals' World Tour since Kelly Slater burst onto the scene in the early 1990s.

Now an even playing field appears to also have vanished from the ASP Women's World Tour, thanks to a blond-haired dynasty-in-the-making known as Stephanie Gilmore.

The Australian power surfer may never match Slater's nine world titles, but she's well on her way to claiming a third title in as many years after winning the season-opening Roxy Pro Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks, Australia.

Gilmore, 21, prevailed in the final against Hawaii's Melanie Bartels in two- to three-foot waves, and registered the day's high single-wave score of a 9.57 to open the heat, after a long series of fin releases and power turns.

The victory was Gilmore's fourth in a row dating to last season, and with an eight-contest schedule likely to shrink because of a shortage of event sponsors, her lead may be more commanding than appears.

"It's a new start for me," Gilmore said. "To win on your home turf, in front of all these people, it's unbelievable."

It's entirely believable. Gilmore, like Slater, will be favored at every contest she's competing in this season.

--Pete Thomas

Photo: Stephanie Gilmore carves a top turn en route to winning the season-opening Roxy Pro Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks in Australia. Credit: Kelly Cestari/ASP

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