Peter Mel is without a doubt one of the most respected authorities and an icon of surfing, in particular Big Wave surfing. We also know him as a celebrity athlete on the panel for live broadcasts of World Surf League Championship Tour, WSL Big Wave World Champion, Mavericks Champion… and as (past) WSL BWT Commissioner
But he is also a dad, a proud father passing along the knowledge & stoke to his son John Mel (named after Pete’s dad)Thanks to John Mel’s geneology, he charges big waves with the fearlessness of his father & is showing well with success in both Pro Juniors and QS events. John won the USA Championships at Lower Trestles in 2016 – which is THE event to win for a young surfer. But, most notable was his first Pro surfing title – the WSL’s RVCA Pro Junior in Newport Beach in 2017.
We recently caught up with both of them at the Jeep World Junior Championship in Kiama, NSW, Australia – where son competed & dad announced.
Peter Mel Joe Foster: What is it like having a son following in your footsteps? You must be very proud.
Peter Mel: It’s really cool to share something that your so passionate about with your kid. We get to spend that time together doing what we love.
JF: You commentary and nice button up shirts were some of our favorite things to watch on the WSL. Where in the heck do you come up with those well ironed beautiful shirts?
PM: Quiksilver!!! Haha. They’re my longtime sponsor and I still represent them today. I’m grateful for all their support.
JF: We are running this shot of you destroying a small wave we’d assume by your standards. Do you still get fired up to surf even if the waves are only head high?
PM: Yes…I love surfing any size waves. Just as long as they still push my big frame around!
JF: The pecking order in Santa Cruz we here is pretty intense. How long did it take you to start getting waves at Steamers and who were some of the boys that helped you out there?
PM: It takes a lot of time. In Santa Cruz there’s a ton of respect for all the elders. So you always give way to them. I got my waves, but it took till my twenties to start getting the best ones. I like that, it keeps an order in the lineup. It’s not as prevalent today. Kids have it way too easy!! Too many of the boys to list. My peers pushed me a ton. But as far as big waves. I looked to Richard Schmidt and Vince Collier as major influences.
JF: Whats the heaviest situation you have ever been in surfing wise? Anything where you might of thought for a second, this could be the end?
PM: I’ve been in many close situations, but nothing where I thought it would end. I think that’s the key, always know there a way out and never give up.
JF: Finally, we know you grew up listened to punk and hardcore music. What attracted you to that sound and what were some of the bands you enjoyed listening to?
PM: I had a lot of friends that were in bands. The Santa Cruz punk scene was full on. Blást and Mock were the local bands. I also loved T.S.O.L., Descendants, Minor Threat and Black Flag. Still listen to all these bands today.
Thanks for your time Pete, we wish you all the best and look forward to more of your awesome endeavors in 2018.