Morrison, Dean

Smooth but explosive Australia regularfooter from Coolangatta, on Queensland's Gold Coast; winner of the 2003 season-opening Quiksilver Pro, at which point he became a darkhorse world title contender.

Morrison was born (1980) to a poor family in Tweed Head, a small New South Wales town located next to the Queensland border, and began surfing at age eight. At 15, when his parents divorced, Morrison moved into a Gold Coast beachfront apartment with 1978 world champion Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, his mentor, coach, and surrogate father; Morrison's refined tuberiding style is a direct reflection of his time spent with Bartholomew, in the high-speed barrels of Kirra.

In 1998, Morrison won the Queensland state championship, the Australian National Titles, and the World Surfing Games; he turned pro the following year and in 2000 won the Pro Junior, in Sydney. By that time he was known throughout the Australian surfing world as one of the "Coolie Kids," along with fellow Coolangatta teen sensations Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson. The other two earned more attention in the early years of the new decade, in part because Morrison is small (5'6", 142 pounds), quiet and unobtrusive: when standing around with his world tour peers, as Australian surf journalist Tim Baker put it, "you could easily mistake him for just another grom chasing autographs." In the water, Morrison was full of speed, energy, grace, and flair, with body language resembling that of 11-time world champion Kelly Slater, and a love for tuberiding that bordered on addictive.

Morrison qualified for the world tour in 2002 and finished the year ranked #29; the following season, in front of a wildly cheering hometown crowd at Snapper Rocks, he defeated Slater and former world champ Mark Occhilupo, among others, to win the Quiksilver Pro. It turned out to be his only world tour win, however. Always acknowledged as one of the world's best surfers, Morrison never had the head for high-level competition; he carried on as a mid-ranking pro, finishing as high as ninth in 2007, then missed the cut for the 2011 season, and ended his world tour career.

Morrison appeared in more than a dozen surf videos, including Momentum: Under the Influence (2001), Shelter (2002), and Amplified (2002). The biopic A Dingo's Tale: the Dean Morrison Story was released in 2011.