Why would you want to have your life made into a documentary, what motivated you guys to sign up to this?
Mark – To be honest we weren’t that keen at the beginning, we didn’t think our lives would make much of a movie but Mac (Macario De Suza) is our best mate and he did a good job convincing us it was important. Knowing him so well as a mate helped us trust him that it would turn out okay.
Richie – Seeing it finished we are stoked at how it has turned out. There are so great messages in it, I hope dads all around the world take their sons to see it.
If you could give teenage boys one message what would it be?
Mark – I’d tell them that there is such a fine line in being fearless and getting in trouble and fearless and using that to reach your dreams. It’s so important to channel that drive, determination and energy into something positive, whether it’s business, sport or creatively or there’s a good chance it will get you in trouble.
Richie – We thought to be a man and gain acceptance we had to out surf, out drink and out fight our mates. It’s total crap. Friends are the most important thing, look after your mate and make sure he looks after you too, it could save your life.
Describe the feeling Mark as you are surfing through those giant waves, unsure if you’ll stay on your board?
Mark – It's really hard to describe in words the feeling is unbelievable it's addictive. For me it's the pinnacle of surfing the best feeling you can get. It would be like hitting a hole-in-one playing golf or scoring the winning try in the rugby world cup. The feeling of be so scared, totally out of your comfort zone and making it through is what is so good, it becomes addictive!
In the movie there is one fight Richie where you almost get your arm broken, if you hadn’t wriggled out of what seems an impossible situation, would you have tapped out or suffered the broken arm?
Richie – If I really thought my arm was going to break I would’ve tapped out but surfing has taught me that if you get into trouble panicking is the worst thing to do. I just kept calm and when I felt he’d eased a bit I’d move a little and eventually I got myself free. Everyone thought that was it so when I got out of it the crowd went wild, it was pretty cool.
Males aren’t the best at expressing their feelings but how would the two of you describe your friendship?
Mark – I’ve known Richie since I was 11 years old so we know each other so well that you don’t have to talk to know what each other are feeling. I knew before his trial that he was down and had lost a lot of his drive for life. That’s when I got him out surfing. You just have to be there for your best mate, it’s the best thing you can ever do for them.
Richie – That day Mark got me out surfing, he had a bad accident and if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet he probably would have died. It was a frightening time seeing my best mate helicoptered off in a back and neck brace. After he had rehabilitated I knew it was my turn to help him and get his confidence back by getting him back on his board. We’d done this since we were 11 years old so he knew I’d be there for him.
Ritchie you were both plastered over TV screens when you were arrested, what happened there and walk us through that experience. While not on TV Mark you also were arrested, what happened there?
Richie – I was drunk and got into a fight which continued outside the bar and the guy filed charges. I was very fortunate that a witness saw just prior to me hitting this guy he and his mates had me on the ground kicking and punching me, but the point is I shouldn’t have gotten into the situation in the first place.
Mark – Like Richie I’d had been drinking too much and got into a fight outside the bar. At one point I was on the ground and this guy was on top of me, in the dark I had no idea who it was and I was pushing my thumb into his eye socket. It was actually a uniformed police officer trying to break up the fight. If they hadn’t stopped me I could’ve blinded him. The thought of hurting someone that badly over something so stupid is incredibly scary. I went down to the cop shop and found the officer and apologised, he didn’t deserve it he was just doing his job. It’s definitely not a stage of my life I'm proud of.
Are you better recognised on the street as a result of your sporting careers, your time on TV news when you were both arrested separately or through Fighting Fear?
Mark – I don’t honestly know, I’d like to think it was from my surfing success rather than the stupid stuff I did but throughFighting Fear I know I have accepted it. It really doesn't matter who you were in the past what matters is who u are now and who you want to become in the future.
Ritchie – Hopefully from my mixed martial arts (MMA) but seeing myself on TV at the first court appearance was a huge wake up to me. I just knew I had hit rock bottom. There was too much alcohol in my life which always led to fighting. It was time to turn my life around and get serious about MMA, I was so lucky to get a second chance.
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