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.
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.
Follow Peter as he prepares for the legendary Mavericks Invitational: win.gs/PeakingPeterMel
JF: Hey John, thanks for taking a second to talk to us. What’s the pressure like being in an event like the Australian World and having your dad there?
John Mel: I was super stoked to be in the event, I really wanted to do well and preform for everyone and my dad but I think I did put a little to much pressure on my self by thinking that way.
JF: If Michael Jordan had a son playing basketball the pressure would be enormous, do you feel any of that or is it more of a blessing?
JM: I don’t think of it like that, It’s pretty awesome to have a legend to help you learn the ropes.
JF: We see a lot of image of you killing the Lower’s lefts, is that one of your favorite waves and do you consider that your second home?
JM: Lowers is a special place for me for sure, I’ve won a few national titles there and surfed most of my big amateur events there. On top of that it’s one of the most rip-able waves ever.
JF: Who are the kids you cruise with in Santa Cruise and also in So Cal?
JM: My buddies from Santa Cruz – Gabe, Garret, Brogie Panesi. Also have good friends down south like Nolan, Tyler, Shano, Wil and Dylan.
JF: . What are your plans for 2018?
JM: I’m gonna do a bunch of QS’s this year and see where I end up. I hoping to make it in those 10000’s soon.
JF: If you had to pick a crew for a dream surf trip anywhere you wanted, who would it be and where?
JM: I’d go back to the Mentawais with other the boys I went with last time… and add on some of the boys from Santa Cruz – and that would be perfect!
JF: What are your thoughts about the QS, so many say it’s a hard grind.
JM: It’s definitely a grind to be traveling non stop all year and surfing so many different places good and bad. But it for sure is a mental experience to see all the new places
JF: Who are you sponsored by and are there any shout out’s you would like to give?
JM: My sponsors are Quiksilver, Channel Islands Surfboards, Oakley, Freeline Surf Shop, Ocean and Earth, Futures and Guayaki.
JF: Thanks so much for your time John, good luck and we look forward to following you in 2018