Searching for Michael Peterson tells 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.
In 1983 he was locked up after a 15-car police chase across Queensland and finally diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He never surfed again.
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.
Director – Jolyon Hoff
Producers – Jolyon Hoff, Mike Vanderfield, Matt Barber
Cinematographer – Gary Griffin
Sound recordist – Richard Boxhall
Editor – John Scott
Sound Designer – Sam Petty
Original Music by The Brown Birds of Windy Hill and The Boxhall Band