Surfing Legends of The Gold Coast
Nine world class surfers from the home of the Quiksilver Pro
Perhaps only Hawaii and Southern California can compete with the depth of surfing legends, and both are a lot bigger. The main reason The Gold Coast has managed this are incredible waves, competitive board riders clubs and a heritage of surfers.
So read on and meet the pick of the bunch of the Gold Coast surfing legends you should definitely know about.
[part title="Guy Ormerod"]
Guy Ormerod became synonymous with the Gold Coast. Born in 1959, he grew up under difficult circumstances in the sixties, but his positive outlook on life and freakishly good surfing ability set him apart from all around.
He is still considered one of the best goofy footers to have ever come out of The Gold Coast, and he rode his local break Burleigh like no other on their backside. He went on to win state and national titles and became the first fully pro rider on the Billabong label.
As well as his surfing since his late teens he was a devout Christian and this has also helped shape his life. In 1998 he joined staff at Kings College Christian school where he is now pastor for the 1800 or so pupils. He still surfs, between duties at school, and can be found pig dogging through barrels across the Gold Coast.
Livewire - The Guy Ormerod story:
[part title="Wayne 'Rabbit' Bartholemew"]
Wayne Bartholomew, Rabbit to his friends, is the godfather of pro surfing. Contests existed in the 70’s, but no one made any money, in fact no one believed you could, except for Rabbit. He saw that surfing was athletic theatre which could be exploited by companies in the form of sponsorship and with his flamboyant style.
Surrounded by other legends like Shaun Thomson and Mark Richards, he dragged them all along, and the fledgling pro tour was born. They became the first celebrities of surfing with Rabbit at one point being sponsored by Smirnoff and appearing all over the globe.
He won a world title, managed to annoy the whole of Hawaii with his brash style, but kickstarted pro surfing as we know it. Later he became president of the ASP World Tour at a time it was faltering and revitalised the professional side of the sport once more. You can still see him getting slotted at his beloved Kirra when it's on.
Rabbit in the 1970's Movie The Performers:
[part title="Michael Peterson"]
As the new school revolution was being ushered in in the early 1970’s one man stood head and shoulders above the rest. Michael Peterson was recognised by his peers as the best surfer in the world, yet he never got it together enough to claim the title officially.
He was fast and radical in the water, surfing at a level way beyond anyone else, but like so many great talents he carried demons which would affect his whole life. At contests you never quite knew how he would behave - in some he would destroy all comers then vanish at the prize giving, at others he would surf a heat spectacularly and then simply go home.
He was without much doubt the best high performance surfer of his time, and changed a generation. However he walked a fine line, poor mental health, specifically schizophrenia, troubled him continuously, but will never take away form his incredible talent.
Searching For Michael Peterson:
[part title="Michael 'Munga' Barry"]
There was a time, back in the 90s when everyone wanted a Munga Barry Nev surf board and the classic spray job that went with it. The red and white cross motif was briefly legendary, but he is much more than just a one off surfboard design.
Raised on the epic right barrels of the Goldie, Munga had a rep early for charging. He was picked up by Billabong and joined the top film maker of the time, Jack McCoy, on a series of movies, including Green Iguana. His sections on the 16mm epics were always some of the highlights, as he charged through impossible West Oz slabs.
He was also a world tour competitor from 1989 to 2000, whilst he never won it, he spent a lot of that time as the top Gold Coaster on tour and finished consistently in the top 15. Whenever the waves got solid, he was the man to watch and his success in Hawaii particularly was impressive.
Munga Barry in Green Iguana:
Peter Drouyn, now better known as Westerly Wendina, was one of the great surfers of the sixties in Australia. His powerful aggressive bottom turn and slick nose riding style earned him many admirers.
But more recently the Gold Coaster has become better known due to his gender. Five years ago he announced that he always felt he was a woman trapped in a man's body, and began a transformation into Westerly.
He came under a fair bit of stick, but also a lot of admiration for his courageous stance and openness. Whatever he was a pioneer of early surfing in Australia and had one hell of a bottom turn.
Peter Drouyn Video:
[part title="Dave Rastavich"]
David Rastavich, or Rasta for short, broke the mould of modern day surfing. He came up through a pretty standard route for any young Aussie surfer of club contests. He soon progressed to the Pro Juniors and looked set after a lot of success and a fat sponsorship deal with Billabong to hit the world tour.
But Rasta had other ideas, and whilst he was a fearsome competitor he wanted to plough a furrow as a free surfer. At the time others had gone before him, but he really set the standard and created a whole new genre of pro surfers. It helped that he would charge anything and had a progressive style which was up there with the best in the world.
He starred in movies, including Blue Horizon alongside Andy Irons. But he has become best known for his environmental work, specifically his fight to help protect Whales and Dolphins. Through all of this he has become one of the all round nice guys in the wave riding world, and his stylish brand of surfing just cements that.
[part title="Joel Parkinson"]
Joel Parkinson, along with Mick Fanning and Dean Morrison is one third of the Coolie Kids. They all came out of the Goldcoast at a time when competitive surfing was dominated by The USA, specifically Kelly Slater and his fellow Momentum Generation surfers. But the three of them put a dent in this domination.
Parkinson won a world junior title before going the tour, he then put in a series of solid years finishing consistently in the top five, always a title contender but never quite putting a run together to take the crown. It seemed by the end of the naughties he wasn't going to do it as a new age of surfer was coming through.
However, after a serious foot injury in 2010 when he was seemingly on his way to that crown, he came back in 2011 to finish second and then, finally in 2012 he took the world title back to the Goldie. A solid all round power surfer with a good aerial game, he'll be in contention for a few years to come yet.
Joel Parkinson 2012 World Champ:
[part title="Mick Fanning"]
Mick Fanning is the second of the Coolie kids, and the most successful. He sits in an exclusive club of three times world champions and other than legendary four time world champ Mark Richards, is the most successful Australian male surfer of all time.
Fanning was long known as the more ruthless of the three challengers from Australia and in the last nine years he has only finished out of the top three in the world on two occasions, and one of those was down to injury. He won his first title in 2007, then 09 and is currently the reigning world champ after a last gasp victory in 2013.
Some criticize his style as not being the flash new school end of things which make good viewing, but in reality he is just ruthlessly consistent and is one of the best power surfers on the planet. He'll be in contention for several years to come yet despite the rise of the new school surfers.
Mick Fanning winning the 2013 world title:
[part title="Dean Morrison"]
The third member of the Coolie Kids qualified alongside Fanning and Parkinson for the world tour, and whilst he had his moments never put a run together to grab himself a world title. That's not to say he didn't have the talent though.
In many ways his aerial style and ability in larger waves was better than his two friends, but he always seemed to lack that final killer blow to win events back to back. He missed the cut for the tour in 2011, it was a bit of a shock as he had been so consistent, but in retrospect it's just allowed him to become an even better surfer.
The lack of the tour though just freed him up, and like fellow Gold Coaster Rasta he is now in the enviable position of being a professional free surfer. Instead of being on a schedule from contest to contest he gets to chase swells. He'll regularly pop up in West Australia for an epic swell to Fiji or just anywhere that looks epic.