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Artikel: Tidligere chef for ASP Peter Whittaker er død


Tidligere chef for ASP Peter Whittaker er død

Peter Whittaker var i mange år ASP Tour Mananger inden han blev kaldt helt op på toppen som CEO.

Det var ham og Rabbit Barholomew har æren for at for at få ASP ud af dødvandet sidst i 90’erne og tilbage i en position med massiv sponsorstøtte, store pengepræmier og solid mediedækning på verdensplan.

Netop Rabbit Bartholomew har skrevet et personligt mindeord om sin nære ven.


It is with great sadness that I write of the passing of former ASP International CEO Peter Whittaker.

Pete passed away at noon on Saturday July 22, 2006, after a long illness.

Peter leaves a great legacy in the sport of surfing, many of today’s pro surfers and definitely future professionals are the direct beneficiaries of Peter’s body of work as a sports administrator.

Some people become surfing administrators, some people are born to be one. Pete was the latter.

I have known Peter Whittaker for over 20 years. When I first met him he was a surveyor by trade who loved surfing, in fact, when he first arrived in Queensland he was rather bohemian, living in a tent in the Noosa National Park at this georgous beach called Alexander Bay.

It wasn’t long before he gravitated towards the Noosa Boardriders Club, and so began his long and successful journey into the world of sports admin.

Peter had some distinct qualities, many of which were taylor made for this profession. The guy was decisive and he was fearless in the face of criticism or opposition.

This was tested very early on. The surfing charity group, Surfers Against Natures Destruction (SAND), recruited Peter to be their judge at an inter club event in 1986. A lot of very talented surfers decided to surf for SAND instead of their respective clubs and they smashed them, winning easily.

The pride of the established top clubs was dented and they vented their fury at Pete, hurling abuse and the odd rock his way. To my amazement Pete remained stoic, it was like water off a ducks back. It was exactly what the rabble of surfing needed back then.

Pete entered the system and before long made his way to CEO of Surfing Queensland. He was instrumental in overhauling judging and coaching accreditation courses, but his major contribution was in team and event management and office admin.

Youngsters such as Kieren Perrow, Michael Lowe and Danny Wills, to name but a few, remember Pete as a really cool Team Manager on away trips. He was so into background detail that the surfers themselves were so well looked after that all they had to do was bring home the bacon through their surfing performance.

Pete was involved in many triumphant Qld campaigns at a time well before the success formula of good management was recognised.

On the national front, Pete managed all the teams representing Australia in the World Grommet Championships, held annually in Bali.

It was around this time, in the early ’90s, that he encouraged me to get involved in the national coaching and we enjoyed many fun forays to Indo. The kids surfed their brains out and Pete never once got to know what it feels like to come second.

His managerial style was classic, all business on the beach, all fun by the pool or at the many restaurants that lined the streets of Kuta.

Pete was also instrumental in establishing events in Sumbawa Indonesia and his real baby was Nias also in Indonesia.

He had the knack of being able to woo the Indoneasian authorities and felt right at home with Governors or having beers with armed members of the military, including Generals.

He then went on to take the helm of ASP Australasia and I’ll never forget the first ASP Board meeting Pete attended. It was in Bali in around ’94. Pete presented the Regional report in this bound document that was meticulously set out and full of detail, incorporating growth projections, event management, financials, sponsorship opportunities, marketing strategies etc.

This document and Pete’s presentation were to have a profound impact on ASP. It virtually changed the way reports were delivered, it became a template for not only regional reports but for the way all presentations were made at Board level.

At that meeting Pete caught the eye of some of the movers and shakers of pro surfing, including Greville Mitchell, Randy Rarick, Ian Cairns and then CEO Graham Stapelburg.

It wasn’t long before CEO Stapelburg went head hunting for Pete. He then moved on from Surfing Australia and relocated to Laguna Beach California, to work with Stapelburg, Meg Bernado, Dory Payne and Jesse Faen at ASP International.

This was a very fullfilling time in Pete’s career. He would ring me and wax lyrical over how fantastic it was to be the WCT Tour Manager. He’d found his calling, he absolutely loved working with and for the surfers, loved travelling the tour, mixing with event owners, government officials and serving the sport and its athletes in this capacity.

When Stapelburg moved on from ASP, destiny stepped in once again on Pete’s career.

He was unwittingly thrust into the role of CEO of ASP International. He referred to it as an interim role, he desperately wanted to get back to the idyllic role of Tour Manager, where his heart lay.

But it was not meant to be. Pete once again encouraged me to come with him on this journey, and over a few cool ones one evening at Rocky Point Hawaii, we established the “Bugs/Weeta” ticket, running ASP being our collective goal.

The team was officially reunited in March 1999 when we were inducted as ASP Management.

I won’t bore you with the details of all our travails, but it’s now safe to say it was a tumultuous time for pro surfing and ASP.

There was unhappiness, surfers were fed up with shitty tour locations, an antiquated judging criteria, an unsynchronized tour schedule, there was talk of a rebel tour, event sponsors were coming and going, there was no security on any side of the table, other exteme sports were leaving pro surfing in the shade, and ASP was at the very bottom of its credibility in Southern California, the hub of industry.

It was in this landscape of revolution and unrest that Pete rolled up his sleeves and went to work. He wanted to operated in the background and was more then happy for me to be the front man.

It was in this new capacity, away from the glitz and glammer of swanning around the world, that Pete’s irrepressible energy was focussed. It may sound easy now, but establishing the institution of Event Licenses was akin to moving mountains.

People are open to the concept of change, until it affects them.

Pete fealessly waded into the trenches – Greville Mitchell used to say that Pete and I needed steel battle helmets, but it was the deep strokes that Pete took in the backrooms of ASP that established this institution, which in turn laid the foundations for the “Dream Tour”.

For me the greatest memories of Pete emanate from the brainstorming sessions in his office.

By 2002 a gentleman by the name of Richard Grellman had bought further order to ASP, in the process re-aligning Pete as CEO and me as President, our true positions.

Pete and I would lock ourselves in his office overlooking the Superbank in Coolangatta Qld, and get into the nitty gritty of making the tour better.

Two such editions that came out of those sessions were jet ski assist and the best two rides calculating formula. We would debate the pros and cons but I tell ya, it was Pete that truly believed in these measures.

People are sceptical by nature, the purists, of which there is elements within me, would say jet ski assist is not on, that the guys have always paddled and so they always should.

Pete got on the blower to Luke Egan, who was at first sceptical but agreed to be part of a trial. We conducted this at Bilinga Beach, on a ready made sandbar that had all the necessary elements to fully test this.

Big Luke would get instructions from us then improvise where needed. As the morning wore on Luke was clearly getting into it and by the end of it Pete and I were hugging on the beach.

We knew it was going to be an integral part of the WCT future. Likewise with the best two formula. I was going on and on about how the stats were showing that at these prime venues like Teahupoo Tahiti, Cloudbreak Fiji and Jeffreys Bay South Africa there were two many 4.0 and 5.0 rides being counted.

The guys were scrambling for the third score and it was adversely affecting the quality of surfing. Pete looked at me deadpan and spat out “well flamin’ just count the best two then”, and we did!

The sport of surfing has been the beneficiary of Peter Whittaker’s time at Surfing Qld, Surfing Australia and ASP International. At a time when very few qualified individuals would choose the path of surfing admin over a surf industry position, Pete took it on.

You see, Pete loved ASP, he loved serving the surfers and was a true believer in the destiny of the sport.

He was a tough administrator, an absolute stickler for rules and regulations, but after work and on weekends he was the most sociable bloke and Pete endeared himself to legions of friends throughout the world.

Running ASP was much more then a job for Peter Whittaker, it was life mission, and the sport has benefitted greatly by his contribution.

Aloha mate, we’ll miss ya.

Rabbit Bartholomew
President ASP International

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