Surf legend overshadows rising stars
By GLEN SCOTT
SURFING'S bright future played second fiddle to it's glorious past at yesterday's launch of this weekend's 2006 Rip Curl MP Classic.
Iconic 1970's surfer Michael Peterson stole the show despite being flanked by leading youngsters Stephanie Gilmore and Shaun Gossman.
The reclusive 'MP', diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia more than 20 years ago, was virtually unbeatable in Australian professional contests from the early to mid 1970's but happily conceded to the new generation.
"They are way ahead of where we were, they're faster and smoother," Peterson said.
Despite Peterson's appraisal of the current crop of professionals, Kingscliff's Gilmore said it was an honour to surf in a contest bearing the sport's most revered initials.
"It's amazing, I'm looking forward to competing and having some fun in good waves," said Gilmore, who will compete in the contest's Malibu Expression Session tomorrow.
"Michael had a classic style. I loved his book and him saying why he enjoyed riding barrels, because no-one could see him."
Organisers are yet to confirm the contest venue, but Peterson's old stomping ground Kirra Point is the preferred location.