Searching for Michael Peterson

The world premiere of the feature-length “Searching for Michael Peterson” will be a highlight of the Global Surf Industries Noosa Festival of Surfing, with the sport’s luminaries from around the world expected to attend.


The premiere, at Noosa Cinemas on Monday, March 16 will be hosted by former world pro surfing champion Peter Townend, and will also feature a live music set from “Morning of the Earth” musicians Peter Howe and Tim Gaze, plus an exclusive encore screening of the American Wide World of Sports special, “Puerto Rico World Titles 1968”, unseen for almost 40 years.

Searching for Michael Peterson, directed by Jolyon Hoff, is a docudrama telling the moving story of one of Australia’s greatest surfers whose career was cut short by mental illness. For five glorious years “MP” led the Coolangatta Kids and won virtually every event he contested, including three Bells Beach Pros back to back.

His brilliant, aggressive surfing provided the centrepiece for Albert Falzon’s Morning of the Earth in 1972, and MP never looked back. His final tour victory, at the inaugural Stubbies Pro at Burleigh Heads in 1977, is regarded as the high point of the early professional era. Sadly, a year later triumph turned to tragedy and Michael’s demons claimed him.

Thirty years on, MP is still vitally interested in the sport and culture of surfing and is a fixture at most Queensland events, enjoying the action with his mother, Joan. He is rightly regarded as an iconic figure in Australian surfing, and Hoff’s film, while it pulls no punches, is an intensely moving tribute to the man.

Puerto Rico ’68 was unearthed by producer Larry Lindberg just prior to a 40th anniversary reunion of the event in California last year. This will be the first public showing of a remarkable document of an extraordinary time in surfing, as the shortboard replaced the longboard.

This rare performance together by Peter Howe and Tim Gaze celebrates the release of Peter’s new album, “Postcards from the Coast”, a musical celebration of a year spent sailing along the Queensland coast. Howe’s haunting “I’m Alive (Delightful Rain)” was one of the central themes of Morning of the Earth, and later gave its name to the ABC surf music television special. Gaze, formerly of Tamam Shud, is one of Australia’s greatest guitar virtuosos, equally at home with surf music or the blues.

A limited number of tickets for this special night will be available at $30.

Check the most complete collection of surf movies and documentaries ever made from the Big Wednesday and The Endless Summer, to North Shore and Blue Horizon.

Source: Noosa Festival of Surfing