Alex Frischman
Informative Essay
Michael Peterson is one of Australia's most accomplished surfers. Peterson dominated
competition in the early to mid 1970s becoming the Australian surfing champion in 1972 and 1974 ("Michael"). However Peterson had a troubled past which includes having a problem with drugs and being diagnosed with Schizophrenia that cut his surfing career short ("Michael").
Born on September 24th 1952, Peterson was raised in Tweeds Head and Coolangatta on Queensland's Gold Coast ("Michael"). Peterson and his siblings Tommy, Dorothy, and Denice were brought up by their single mother Joan who struggled to make ends meet ("Michael"). Even though money was an issue surfing was definitely a priority, and owning a surf board wasn't an option, so the boys had to be resourceful. They spent a few summers in a row working for Billy Rak at Greenmount setting up surf boards for tourists ("Michael"). In 1967 Peterson and his family moved into a bigger home where him and his brother set up a surf board factory downstairs restoring and shaping surf boards.
Peterson's first big contribution to the surfing world was his part in the movie Morning of the Earth ("Michael"). The movie targeted the top underground surfers on the Golf Coast and Peterson was the creme of the crop. The early 1970s began Peterson's surfing career as well as his extensive drug usage. Even though Peterson was a champion in the water and would win contest after contest his social skills lacked significantly due to his un diagnosed schizophrenia. Peterson was star surfer but by no means a role model. He would win title after title but when it came time for him to receive his trophy or more importantly his check he would not be around. Peterson understood waves and was himself at his finest in the water but when it came to people, the real world and real life he couldn't handle it.
Peterson's drug usage became prevalent August 9, 1983 when he became involved in a psychotic car chase in South Bisbane with the police ("Michael"). After he caused a significant amount of damage the judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation where they learned of his schizophrenia. The judge knew of the drug usage but no one had any idea it was this severe. He underwent shock therapy

Work Cited
"Michael Peterson." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 2 Dec. 2010. 27 Feb. 2011.