Chilling out: Dean Morrison with good mate and fellow Gold Coaster Joel Parkinson.
Chilling out: Dean Morrison with good mate and fellow Gold Coaster Joel Parkinson.

End of an era for Quiksilver Pro

THE great Coolangatta Kids trio will be reduced to two for the first time in the 11-year history of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast when action gets underway later this month.

Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and Dean Morrison burst on to the ASP World Tour together more than a decade ago, taking the moniker that was given to three other Coolangatta legends – Michael Peterson, Wayne Bartholomew and Peter Townend – back in the 1970s.

But the modern group are no longer kids, they’re men, and Morrison, at age 30, has been punted from the fiercely competitive group of world tour surfers by the next generation of stars.

So the excitement that comes with the year’s opening world tour event will be tinged with sadness for the three Gold Coast legends, as they contemplate the end of an era.

All three are previous Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast champions, with Fanning and Parkinson having achieved the feat twice.

The 2003 winner Morrison now has other projects on the go and is looking forward to a stress-free event.

“It’s different to every other year. I’m usually trying to get ready for events,” he said.

“I have never really been able to have fun with my friends so I’ll probably enjoy a few parties and cruise.

“Hopefully Mick and Joel do well. I’ll be cheering those two guys on, and Dusty Payne.

“I will head the cheer squad I guess.”

Two-time world champion Fanning, 29, who recently slotted into some cyclonic Kirra barrels with Morrison, said ‘Deano’ would be missed in the Snapper Rocks line-up during the February 28 to March 9 competition.

“It’s going to be really weird. Deano is such a prominent part of the Gold Coast, especially down here in Coolangatta,” Fanning said.

“Being a former winner of the event, it will be sad not to see him out there but he has got his different deals going on and he will probably be getting better waves than us anyway.”

Parkinson, 29, returned to competition at the end of the 2010 season from a career-threatening foot injury to win the 2010 Hawaiian Triple Crown of Surfing, agreed with Fanning.

“He’s (Morrison) always been a fixture out here (Snapper Rocks) during the Quiksilver Pro, so I feel there’s going to be something missing, especially being a local boy. He’s one of the best.”

When asked about the ‘Coolangatta Kids’ moniker, Parkinson added:

“We’ll always have that. But we outgrew the kids’ stage, the last few years we’ve all matured. With Deano off the tour, it’s only Mick (Mick Fanning) and I on tour now.”

Parkinson is looking forward to commencing a full year of competition at the Quiksilver Pro.

“I have had such a big break through last year,” said Parkinson.

“I only did five events in total. So I’m excited to have a whole year ahead of me and get on a good roll and in a good rhythm and all those good things about competing.”

Morrison’s career is fast heading in new directions with his upcoming movie A Dingo’s Tale to premier in March to coincide with the Quiksilver Pro.

The film is an insightful look into Dean’s turbulent life and the journey that has taken from him from grommet and childhood prodigy up until today as one of the most loved surfers in the world.

“It’s about my whole life and how I got involved in surfing,” Morrison said.

“Just wanting to be a professional surfer ever since I was young and how driven I was and why I was so driven.

“It goes into a lot of depth. It’s something I will be really proud of,” continued Morrison.

“It feels really healing just to face it and talk about it and watch and see where I am at with things,” he added.

Along the way, A Dingo’s Tale will touch on the key people that have influenced Dean’s life and witnessed first hand his rise to success – people like “Rabbit” Bartholomew, the 1978 world champion and Dean’s mentor from a very early age.

The opening ASP Men’s World Tour event will be staged in conjunction with the Roxy Pro presented by Land Rover on the southern end of the Gold Coast, the opening event of the 2011 ASP Women’s World Tour.

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