In search of Michael Peterson a Review by Martin Tullemans

Posted by on Mar 25, 2009 in Kirra, News, Reviews, Snapper Rocks |

The release and premiere of the movie ‘Searching for Michael Peterson’ truly struck a bottom turn in my heart.
It was not your usual pump up the hydraulic plumbing macho fluid stuff.
Sure the rip tear and lacerate of ‘MP’ the father of modern high performance surfing was…….  oh yeah baby!!!…. Show me the money!!!  But it also had a humanity   and respect for Michael’s condition that set it a cut above.

Jolyon Hoff the producer needs to be applauded and congratulated for the sensitive rendering and the depth of historical research he went to.

I might take a walk on the wild side here myself. My mate and ‘brother in arms’ MP….. we used to hang out, play chess and rap at his factory where he rented me a small room for my darkroom work in 75/76.
Michael had a much stronger strain of a mental condition that I myself have had to learn to manage with discipline and application. I only have bipolar disorder which quite a few highly talented and respected surfers and artist’s high profile people have.
I regret to this day that I could not convince my film associate Chris Bystrom to get medicated. He had three major things go wrong in his life before his untimely head on with a semi trailer.
Michaels condition paranoid schizophrenia;   we knew nothing of at the time. We just knew he was as quiet and introverted as a ‘library bookworm nerd’ on land and did a complete out of the closet Clark Kent to superman switch once he hit the surf.
From my own experience, mental conditions are handed down the family tree line of some emotional pain or hurt of the parent/ grandparent/ great grandparent that has not been trashed out through the heart centre
releasing it.

I could have given you the standard reportage of the play by play film story rehash but I have just come back from a week of tai chi and meditation in the Noosa national park..I did not want to clutter your minds with more of the usual information overload rehash bash.

The reason Michael Peterson is so revered is he followed his heart and walked the talk. This is highly unusual today as in this entertainment world we let the great actors and general James Bond cats walk our own talk for us.
In Michaels day to be a surfer was really going against the grain as society still had be straight and conform to  normal  rules from the post second world war fallout and baggage. Michael’s behaviour if you read Sean Doherty’s book will reveal the clues on the things that caused his body and mind to be afflicted with the fear at every turn and step. If you do have such a condition as some of us big monkeys that swing from surfing’s tribal tree do.
Join us get medicated, and manage it. No shame be game. After all, they nicknamed MP the MONK for the long gangly killer ORANG UTANG paddler arms and the primitive psych out vibe that THE MISSING LINK was capable of.

We all owe a debt to Michael for BUSTIN DOWN THE DOORS of plain average surfing performance and showing us a standard of excellence and possibility.
A man of vision and courage!!.
His buddy and mate from 75 /76; MARTIN TULLEMANS surf photographer from 72 to 2003 on active tour of duty.
Now merely a pelican or sea eagle gliding and sliding on the winds above the jackals , hyenas, lions, tigers, kelpies, pure bred Aussie mongrels and barrel chested, pot bellied, chook legged, wave hogs on long lumber thrashing it out on the hydroscape.



Check out more of Marty’s classic photos below and in our shop.

Click here to Purchase this print

Click here to purchase this print

Click here to purchase this print