April 6, 2022

Your dream job: Pete Murphy

5  minutes with Surfing Vic’s Pete Murphy

You are Operations Manager for the Rip Curl Pro. How long have you been doing this?
14 years

How did you get to this point in your career?
I was in Natural Resource Management and decided to have a career change. I actually started working as part of the site crew for the Rip Curl Pro and did this for a couple of years as well as run a small business in Indonesia. An opportunity came up at Surfing Victoria. I jumped at it and the rest is history.

What are two of the most enjoyable or satisfying things about your work for the Rip Curl Pro?

"I enjoy watching everyone froth over the event! I get a real buzz out of how excited the wider Surf Coast community gets as we approach Easter. Being part of the best surf event on the planet and working with a great team is also pretty satisfying."

What are the two biggest challenges that come with the job?
Choosing the right prayers when praying for surf!  Seriously, balancing the budget and keeping the very long list of stakeholders happy.

You are onsite working at Bells for a whopping 45 days. What are your coping techniques for surviving this marathon?
I leave the parties and social events early and keep focused on the end game. I work ahead of schedule and always expect the unexpected. The event divides itself neatly into three phases, so it never seems like a marathon. Having said that – the last 10 or 11 days (the bump out) can be a bit taxing. To be honest, I actually feel really energized from the whole experience. Did I mention I watch my alcohol consumption!

What makes the Bells Beach Surfing Reserve such a great place to host a world tour event?
Simple – its culture heritage and surf history. Surfers have been visiting Bells since the 1930’s. There’s certainly a strong connection there.  In the early 70’s it was officially named the world’s first surfing reserve.

"More importantly however, Bells is Wadawurrung Country. It was an important gathering place where meals were shared and stories told. It still is a meeting place for the Traditional Owners and we are really blessed to be able to come onto country and hold the event."

What does this mean? It means we have an opportunity to connect with the Traditional Owners and this is an opportunity to enrich our lives – you can’t put a value on that.

Bells, Winki or Rincon? What’s your wave preference ‘as a spectator’ watching the world’s best surfers?
Big Bells

Who are your favourite male and female Tour surfers to watch in the water and why?
Kelly Slater. He brings the X –factor. He is always likely to do something amazing or unpredictable. In the Women’s, Carissa Moore is next level. She just pips Tyler Wright.

Has professional surfing changed significantly over the time you have been involved. How?
Definitely! Gone are the days of surfers turning up to the comp in cars with their mates and a boot full of boards. Surfers are all ultra-athletes now, not just great surfers.  All the pros have an entourage, all of them have coaches. Many have dedicated physios and dieticians. They are athletes in every sense of the word – just like the athletes that compete in the AFL, WAFL or at the Olympic Games. I have seen these changes just in the last decade and a half!

If you were not working on the Rip Curl Pro, where might you be working?
Maybe a bus driver taking ornithologists on bird surveys.

Profile written by Jim Lawson.

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