It seems no matter which after-hours event you’re attending in Coolangatta, you inevitably end up damp. Usually it’s the humidity and air-conditioner-free venues packed beyond capacity. Last night it was the rain. Standing in the Kirra Surf parking lot wearing dollar-store plastic ponchos that were passed out at the door, hundreds of people showed up and endured the showers for the premiere of Dean Morrison’s revealing new release.
“We started filming two years ago and we didn’t really know the story line at the time,” says Dean. “Then a whole bunch of events happened in my life and I went, ‘It would feel good for me to tell it.’ It was a hard time for me and I was just really open with it in the movie.”
Through childhood hardships involving drugs and abuse, to moving in with Rabbit Bartholomew at 13 years old, through massive success in surfing, and most recently, injury, falling off the Tour, his dog dying, and his wife leaving him, it’s a story that’s not often so openly told in the surf world.
“It wasn’t easy to tell and I’m kind of scared about tonight,” he said, moments before the film began. “Everyone is going to know exactly who I am. More than anything, I’m hoping that if a kid watches this and he’s in a bad situation at home he can go, ‘I have a chance to do something in this sport.’ If I can do that for one kid, I’ll be happy.”