Illustration by Nanda Ormond

Sean Doherty Gets Lightly Peppered

With Hypothetical Questions

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SW: You can go back in time and ask one question to any surfer in history.
SD: Kelly Slater at age 10. “Ever thought of taking up soccer, champ?”

Your MP biography gets turned into a major Hollywood A-list blockbuster and you’re allowed to do the casting. Give us a rundown on who plays the following characters…
Early Michael: Creed McTaggart. Later Michael: Russell Crowe. Tommy Peterson: Alf Stewart from Home & Away. Joan Peterson: Jackie Weaver. Rabbit: Matt George. PT: Zac Efron. Owl Chapman: Cheech Marin. Nat Young: Benedict Cumberbatch. Peter Drouyn: Barry Humphries.

You’re the guest editor of Time Magazine next month. Who’s on the cover?
It’s the annual Person Of The Year issue, and Doris Eltherington beats the Dalai Lama to the title.

Joel Parkinson develops the unusual habit of rubbing your head for good luck before heats and it works a treat with three wins from three events. Other surfers catch on and soon everyone from Kolohe Andino to Bianca Buitendag is rubbing your head for good luck. How do you feel about all this?
Well my bald head has never bought me any good luck, so if it’s working for them, well, knock yourselves out. Bit worried though if Kolohe starts losing. He’s going to come in and start blaming my head and breaking boards over it.

You’re the keynote speaker at a conference for budding surf writers. What’s your opening line?
In preparation for your future careers I’d encourage you to shit in a bucket, perform a ritual headstand above it, then slowly lower yourself in.

Which number is better 12 or 37?
37. You never forget the age when you lost your virginity.

Cage fight with Michel Bourez or surf a heat against Steph Gilmore in front of a full house Easter crowd at Bells?
Do I have the option of being locked in the cage with Steph instead? That sounds strangely appealing.

The title of the best story you have never written for Surfing World is…
The Lost Paradise.” It’s going to be written in about 20 years time when Australia has become a Third World shithole and Indonesia is a world superpower with a booming surf industry. The story will follow a boatload of rich Indonesian pro surfers as they explore the Australian coastline on a surf charter boat, drinking VB tins as the sun sets while taking patronising excursions on shore to encounter the primitive surf tribes of Burleigh, Dee Why and Wollongong with their dream catcher tattoos and ancient poker machine rituals.

You wake up smelling of ciggies and rocking a ponytail – it’s the alternative universe where you became a rock writer. What gig did you see last night?
The alternate me saw a gig by the alternate Kelly Slater, who ditched surfing and stuck with his band, The Surfers. His music career has struggled to match the dizzying heights of his surf career; he’s overweight and pasty and dressed only in leather pants and a pimp coat, doing Nickelback covers at a dive bar outside the airport on the Gold Coast on a Tuesday night to a crowd consisting only of Tommy Peterson.

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