Searching for Michael Peterson, directed by Jolyon Hoff, is a documentary 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.
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.
This film has just toured Australia, where it sold out rapidly and was enthusiastically recieved by it's audience.