The ASP (WSL) Commisioner ain't a fool. Very sharp. Maybe even wise.
Long before he became ASP Commissioner the Australian Kieren Perrow was a tour competitor of note, winning even the Pipeline Masters in 2011. This interview was recorded during a break in the Tahiti contest some years ago, but contained within, is a candour perhaps not available now given his high-profile position within the sport.
Fear is never too far from the surface. And it doesn’t take much for it to appear. You will fluctuate from being shit-scared to feeling totally high.
I discovered I got off on big waves on my first trip to Hawaii. Sunset was 10 foot, perfect. Margo (Brenden Margieson) faded me and my board was too big but after a few hammerings I realised I was enjoying the power. Once you get the taste there’s no going back.
In 2000, I nearly gave the pro surfing thing away. I missed the WCT cut by two spots. I was in tears. I didn’t know how to cope. It could’ve made me bitter and twisted. But I came back. Came back without the feeling that I deserved it. I could’ve walked away but I would’ve regretted it for the rest of my life.
I felt like I had something to prove in surfing. No one thought I could qualify. I was never a stand-out. I was never being touted as the Next Big Thing. It didn’t upset me but part of me wanted to say, Fuck you, I did it.
My year on tour I finished seventh. It was the third best rookie result ever, behind Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning.
Australia? There’s a split between the olds who don’t want war and who ware sympathetic to refugees and others who parrot the government line.
I thought I was going to screw up in my last year of school. I felt like I was slipping. I bought the idea that the HSC (final year exams) is it, that it sets your course for the rest of your life. I didn’t do much except smoke pot. Then school finished and reality hit. Your social structure falls apart. Pot stopped being fun and became a habit. Six months after finishing school it was a pretty intense situation. I’d get up at five, start chopping up, then smoke four or five cones before a surf. It was an escape from time and thought. I remember waking up and looking in the mirror and thinking: What the fuck are you doing? One part of me said, Have a cone and you’ll be all right. And I did. But I stopped soon after and didn’t smoke again for seven years.
Two weeks after I stopped smoking I was in Sydney waiting for a connecting train to Victoria for a contest. When I got to the platform the conductor wouldn’t let my boards on. I was left standing on the platform freaking. I went outside and borrowed some change from a guy for the phone. As I waited to be picked up, we started talking and he wound up paying for a hotel, then picked me up in the morning, took me to the airport and bought me a one-way business class ticket to Melbourne. I would never have been open to that if I’d been stoned. I would’ve been suspicious and paranoid. It taught me the power of generosity. I don’t want to care about money too much. I like having it and I like giving it away. It gives immense satisfaction. His name was Eddie Andrews from the Australian Management Group. Thanks Eddie.
A few months later, I started talking to one of the hostess on a flight to Perth. I immediately became infatuated and wrote her a one-and-a-half page poem. When I told her I didn’t have anywhere to stay in Perth, she told me to call her at the Hyatt. I went there and she answered the door in her undies. I went to the contest the next day with the biggest smile. I felt young and invincible.
Danielle came to help me with my contracts and we talked for four hours. As she was walking out the door I had this irresistible urge to kiss her. Eighteen months later she was my wife.
All women should learn to fight. They need to defend themselves.
Believing in yourself is great. But, eventually, you’ve gotta achieve or else you need to face reality.
Everyone’s perverted in some way. Everyone.