The Dingo's eating everything, everywhere. After an illustrious, decade-long career on the world tour Dean Morrison is now free to roam ... and charge. Notorious for his need to constantly be standing up riding waves, "retirement" has afforded him more of that than ever. Teahupoo, Jaws, West Oz, much like Shane Dorian's post-ASP renaissance, Morrison's on it when it's pumping. X Games Surfing had the distinct pleasure of catching up with the wanderer and gathering his perspective on life, liberty and the pursuit of some heavy ass waves.
XGames.com: What's the best thing about not being on tour?
Morrison: For me it has been the freedom to see a swell and be there for it regardless of where in the world it is going. To have the freedom to surf the waves I want, not having the stress of competing and hunting results always in the back of your mind. There was a lot of pressure that I was putting on myself to do well. It is a roller coaster ride no matter how you look at it, and being constantly compared and judged forces you to conform a bit, which never happens when you are surfing perfect waves.
What do you miss the most?
I miss having a schedule of knowing where I'll be and when I need to train and peak. With free surfing it's pretty open all year and hard to plan ahead because you never know when and where the swells are going to be.
What's the best wave you've scored in the last 12 months?
Gnarloo in Western Australia, Jaws on Maui, and Teahupoo, Tahiti. All my travels have been amazing this year and the waves I have gotten are next to none in my life. These places particularly got some of the best, biggest barrels I could have asked for.
What have you learned about your surfing since taking off the jersey?
I have learned a lot of about myself through surfing big waves, feeling more fear, but not acting on it. It's about understanding the mind when you're in a situation with fear. You have to act on courage and not pay too much attention to the tricks that the mind's playing.
Where's the future taking us?
I see everything just going bigger, and it seems like there's a lot more interest in the big-wave stuff as well with the ASP getting behind the big-wave tour. All the younger guys are doing the most unbelievable aerial surfing, so I think it will all get bigger in the air with more rotations, and then there will be guys pushing the barrier in big wave stuff and paddling in on waves that you didn't think we're possible.
What did it mean to you to see Parko win a world title?
It was so amazing the last day when he won at Pipe. It was such an unbelievable task and to win with such style and commitment. He fought the whole day. The win at Pipe and the title didn't come easy that day for him, but to come up victorious is what makes legends. What makes it special for me is Parko being one of my close friends and knowing how close he has come before. The odds that were staked against him on that day were truly inspiring. It made me so unbelievably happy for him and his whole family.
Thoughts on Kelly going for a 12th title?
Man, it makes me wonder how someone can keep evolving and still do the best surfing in the world against anyone in any conditions. He really is an inspiring human and someone who defies the impossible. He is living proof that anything truly is achievable and that there is no reason not to keep improving into your older age.