“I’m never doing another fucking contest for as long as I live, they suck the soul out of you,” a well-lacquered Dean Morrison confesses.

We were sat in a hotel bar in Jakarta slurping on celebratory Bintangs after we got wind of a Queensland triumph in the first State of Origin match. Dean’s phone beeps incessantly with score updates and New South Wales supporter attacks. He’s just got the phone and doesn’t have any phone numbers in it, so doesn’t really know who is sending what. He turns it off and returns his attention to his beer. I ask if he’d even kept tabs on the World Tour this year. Apart from the odd highlight clip, he hasn’t. I reveal that Adriano De Souza is sitting in poll position after the Rio event. Dean doesn’t register any interest apart from how the waves were.

“I watched some of the highlights of Brazil on the web and I was thinking ‘fuck, I was surfing six-foot, perfect Restaurants while they were there,” he responds. He chuckles to himself slightly and orders another round at the bar as if to celebrate his exit from the world tour grind. I had only met Dean 12 hour’s prior, yet he sits and talks openly with me about his life; it’s the same candid Dean that features in his latest biopic – A Dingo’s Tale

It’s no secret that 2010 was a shit year for Dingo. He dropped off the tour, got belted in a bar fight, his dog died and his wife of only eight months left him. To cap it all off, his close friend and “brother”, Andy Irons died shortly after. For Dean it was a pain he’d never known, nor thought existed. He took me through each heart-wrenching moment the same way he had done in the media at the time. I question if the media attention was hard to deal with. “You know it was well publicised what happened to me, but I think a lot of people paint pictures of stuff that’s unrealistic about their lives and not too many people speak about what really goes on. So for me it was just about being truthful and telling people the truth about what was happening and how I was dealing with it. I didn’t want to try to hide behind a mask or paint an unrealistic picture. So that’s what I went through and I came through the end of it and life is really beautiful now. But you know everyone goes through it in life, there are hard times but you always find some really great times in amongst it,” he replies.

In 2011 though, things are different, and while his mates Mick and Joel continue to dominate the world title race, Dingo has hung up the contest singlet and is content in just chasing waves. “It’s been unreal, just nice to have a lot of freedom and enjoy what I like doing and go surfing with my mates and things like that. The biggest thing for me has been just to be able to let go of stuff and not be so controlling and it just seems like this journey that has opened up for me is what I really enjoy in life at the moment and I enjoy pushing myself in different areas of surfing. I feel like I learn a lot more about myself now than when I was competing but that book closed for me and now I want to embark on something different and go chasing waves and pushing myself in other areas of surfing is just what feels right.”

Words and photos by Ben Whitmore

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