Peter Morse 1950 - 2021
Words by Paul Brunskill
It is with huge sadness to report the passing of a great friend and colleague, Peter Morse.
On behalf the S2 team, I send our heartfelt love to Linda, Murphy, family and friends.
I’ve known and worked with Pete since 2003. He was a lovely softly spoken guy with a big heart.
After designing a logo for Pete back in 2003, we joined forces to publish the Wavetrack Surfing Guide Book, a publication that has gone on to become the NZ surfers bible. Pete brought a lifetime of knowledge and an incredible network of old sea dogs (friends) to help us compile a quality publication.
As well has directing surfers to NZ’s best surf breaks, it was also eventually utilised as a reference tool by councils and local government around NZ to shape the NZ surf break protection policies. Something Pete was very proud of.
Pete and I spent over a year and half producing the book. We thought it might do OK, so we printed 10,000 copies to start (crazy) and self distributed. What a shock when we arrived at the printer to view the pile of books (larger than the Landrover). We then went on to sell reprint after reprint over the years.
At that time, Pete was considering creating a surf report website, and we both thought it would be a good idea to promote the book. Pete had huge report/forecasting expertise from his legendary 0800 Wavetrack phone surf reports (we all used those through the late 80’s and 90’s - remember the delight when the parents got the phone bill!!)
We then launched SURF2SURF more so to support the book launch. Pete was a co-owner of the website from 2004 through to 2007. Pete remained a key surf reporter/forecaster right up until recently.
He was a master of consistency and incredibly dedicated with huge swell and weather knowledge coming for surfing most NZ breaks. His reports always had featured depth in detail and a great voice. His reports sent many of us to the coast to enjoy surf sessions we’ll never forget.
Pete was a huge part of the NZ surfing landscape.
I have lovely memories with Pete, driving around the country in the Landrover on missions, always looking out for the fresh fruit stands, Pete was an amazing guy in the way he enjoyed the simple things in life (while many of us rush past). Watching a sunrise, enjoying a strong coffee while looking over NZ surf breaks and interpreting looming patterns, translating them into directions to surf.
I really enjoyed our shared love for the weather, we'd joke about how we both lost the ability to sleep in past dawn many years ago. There is something so special about waking up early to try and decode the patterns of chaos associated with weather and surf reporting. A call to Pete was always about what swell generator is on the way - so exciting.
Pete’s daily routine involved getting on his bike and riding around the Mount streets. It was social, and it was to scout the best banks. I have no idea how many people he would stop to talk to or visit. I would say it was substantial, we may never know. No wonder our Mount report was a daily work of art - crafted with super cool reporting. My favourite line I spotted once was a very small micro swell day on the Mount Coast - Pete called it ‘Ken and Barbie sized lines’!!
Surfing was where Pete was the best, he just had the best attitude in the water, smiled and talked, shared the stoke! This is something we wrote into the intro section of our book. It was all positive.
I vividly remember many of the surfs with Pete (usually longboard waves on an amazing bank he had discovered with precision planning).
And that drop knee cutty - what style.
ALOHA Pete, my friend.
Words by Brendan Horan
I struggle to find anyone who comes close to Pete Morse in making an impact on surfers in New Zealand. Pete has helped and facilitated thousands of surfers into the surf over the past 40 plus years.
Pete used to work glassing Bob Davie boards in the 70’s before buying the shop next door in Barry’s point road and creating Wind, surf n ski.
There are so many older surfers who will have fond memories from buying their first board off Pete…and of course subsequent boards after that.
Pete loved the ocean and he shared that love trying to connect as many people as he could with the surf. He gave daily radio surf reports, started Wavetrack NZ where people could telephone in to check on their favourite break.
He created the first surf school in NZ-Aloha surf school.
I feel very blessed and fortunate to have had Pete as a close friend since the eighties and we have had some epic surf sessions at Ahipara, Daniels, Goat Island, Piha, Muriwai, Hotwater, Raglan, Whangamata…the list is almost endless.
Pete’s knowledge of wind, weather, tides and surf is quite simply unsurpassed. For me Pete was the best weatherman ever and one of the most stylish surfers to wax a board. Speak to an old surfer and they’ll tell you about the 70’s and speak in hushed tones about the days they saw Pete Morse ripping. And he has shredded from then right until earlier this year when he surfed his last wave. Omanu beach will never seem the same without Mr Style with the most glorious drop knee cutback ever seen.
It is not just for surf that Pete will be remembered but also as one of the most truly nicest human beings one could ever meet. I’ve known Pete for many years and I have never heard him utter a bad word of anyone and neither have any of his friends. He was the ultimate waterman. The word legend seems to be to freely given these days and it should be reserved for true legends like Pete Morse.Thanks for sharing the love Pete. Rest in Peace.