Speed Freaks

Michael Peterson's short, brilliant, toxic career made him a rebel surfing legend second only to Miki Dora. Terry Fitzgerald, meanwhile, did for performance surfing what Led Zeppelin did for the blues—made it bigger, louder, heavier.

“Performance surfing” is a loosely defined term, but it generally means a fast, active, dynamic style of riding in waves smaller than eight or ten feet. By the early '70s the Aussies were taking ownership of the category. Under-18 junior division champs like Mark Richards, Wayne Bartholomew, and Peter Townend—years before their respective primes—were out-surfing all but the best from California an...

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