Words: Mimi LaMontagne
Photos: Andrew Shield
Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson have spent the past few weeks consumed in a world of policies and politicians, fighting for something that they really care about… something that affects every single person on the Gold Coast. Not what I would call your pro surfer’s average day. But you know what? They won.
So, it seemed more than fitting to sit down and have a chat with the champs.
Congratulations boys, ya did good.
I'm sure Slater would agree boys... this was well worth it.
What was your initial reaction, with all this… crap?
MF: Ha. I thought it was an April Fools joke. Then I realised it wasn’t April.
JP: Mick and I were both into it from the start. I’m a Snapper boy, and Mick is from Kirra. I mean, from his house you’re looking straight out on where this thing would have gone. A lot of the targeting went to him, and from the start there was a lot going on day in and day out, so I wanted to help him out, chop and change. It was going to be really hectic, if Campbell Newman hadn’t come out and announced early that it was never going to happen. This was when everything was going to get crazy… this paddle out. We were aware of that though. I mean, I thought for sure that someone was going to come out and try to chop our heads off in the middle of the protest. There’s always the guy that wants to come put dirt on you, but we felt pretty prepared for it.
It’s awesome we won. But what do you think about the fact Campbell Newman caved in, publicly, three days before the paddle out. There was so much momentum going…
MF: I think it’s good. If you get a result, it doesn’t matter when it comes. It’s good that it came early because it saved a lot of people’s time and effort. I think it’s great that the government has realised how spectacular our beaches are and how much tourism they actually do bring. People can probably take them for granted sometimes. So I’m stoked that it came through, and a win is a win.
JP: I think it’s still going to be huge. We’ve gotten this World Surfing Reserve thing going, and it would be just amazing. That’s what we want to do, otherwise we’re going to run into this same problem in ten years time. When there’s a new government and there’s different people, we’re gunna run into the same problem.
What can we look for up at The Spit?
MF: I think the Gold Coast prides itself on its clean beaches. I did a bit of research on cruise ships and how much waste and pollution they actually cause. It’s disgusting. So in effect, it won’t just be The Spit, it’ll drift up to North Straddy and drift down to Surfers Paradise, so they’ve got to be very careful on exactly what they do there. I don’t want any cruise ships anywhere on the Gold Coast.
Nope. You're not goin' anywhere.
A Media Advisor, Hermann Vorster, from the Mayor’s office told me the other day that “Surfing has never had a better friend than Tom Tate”. Thoughts?
MF: Ha. Wow. Uh. I don’t know. I don’t really have any words for that one.
JP: Really? I find that hard to believe, really hard to believe. Tom Tate… he’s had battles with Mick and I don’t think he is the biggest friend of surfing and our beaches. I think Tom is more involved in doing something huge on the Gold Coast. He wants to do something that’ll be massive, and there’s already too many big things up here. It’ll destroy the place.
Any message you want out there?
MF: People should still come to the paddle out. It’ll be a celebration, and it’s a good community thing when everyone gets together and comes together for something good. Hopefully we can keep spreading the good word and show that we are thankful that they canned it, and that we’re after getting The Spit done too.
A note from event organizer and retired pro-surfer Andy Mac (Andrew McKinnon):
“Newman was shit scared, and that’s why he came out when he did. He saw the momentum building and said, ‘Hold on, I’m the Premier in this state and I’ve got the power, not these guys.’ So he’s come over the top of us. We were so pumped, and were looking at a huge rally and huge paddle out. Now, the perception is what are we paddling for, but you know, the campaign continues because now we fight for The Spit. We’ve always been side-by-side with those guys up there, we’re all on the same page to take back the coastline.”