The ashes of legendary Australian surfer Michael Peterson will be laid to rest at a special paddle out at Surfer’s Point at the Australia Day single fin competition.
Last year, Margaret River surfer Sue Barrett told the Mail how she met Peterson’s mother Joan Watt by chance in Queensland and was given the task of taking his ashes across Australia to Margaret River
Ms Barrett hoped to organise a paddle out after last year’s Pro but faced too many hurdles with event organisers.
Instead she has teamed up with the Margaret River Boardrider’s Club to help fulfill the wishes of Peterson’s mother.
Peterson was a famed Australian surfer in the 1970’s and was featured in the Australian surf classic Morning of the Earth filmed on the Gold Coast.
Peterson developed schizophrenia after using heroin in the 70’s with the condition worsening after prolonged use, in the 80’s he was imprisoned after a car chase with police.
Peterson passed away in 2012 aged 59.
Earlier this year, Peterson’s mum asked Ms Barrett to take part of his ashes to Pipeline in Hawaii where she was fortunate to team up with pro surfer Kelly Slater.
“I had to stay all day and go through all the security to get in touch with Slater. Getting in touch with him at a surf comp was like getting to Mick Jagger at a rock concert,” she said.
“Slater was fantastic, he is friends with the Peterson family and wrote a famous quote in his biography which said, ‘you are better than me MP.’ The single fin competition will be at Surfer’s Point or the river mouth depending on what the surf is like on Australia Day, a maximum of 40 surfers can compete.
Entries will include a t-shirt commemorating the paddle out, featuring the iconic image of the surfer from Morning of the Earth. The paddle out will be at 3pm and Ms Barrett is asking everyone to come dressed in 70’s gear to help celebrate Peterson with a prize for the best MP impersonator.
Presentations will take place from 5pm at The Common followed by a Studio 54 style disco from 8pm. Entry is free and a bus will be available from Cowaramup or Margaret River’s town centre, to book a seat contact Margaret River Experience.
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