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The perpetual motion of Mick Fanning

Mick Fanning has stood on a French podium before. He won there in ’07, ’09 and ’10. The first two years that he was showered by French bubbly were the two years he won the world title. Reckon he’s fond of the place? He just packed his full suit and number one WT ranking into his coffin, and landed in Hossegor for this year’s Quik Pro. With Kelly’s Lowers win squeezing the ranking gap, we wondered at what point Mick’s spine begins to tingle. After your clumsy Stab correspondent woke Mick from a jetlag-induced sleep, he was kind enough not to ice the callback two hours later. Speaks in volumes, right?

Stab: When was the last time you had a sleepless night thinking about a heat or an opponent?
Mick: Sometimes you have them, sometimes you don’t. It’s not so much about an opponent, but more about conditions. That’s what I’ve been concentrating on this year – making sure I know what the conditions are gonna be like and making sure I’m ready for whatever we get.

What, like lying in bed on Namotu listening to the swell start to jack? Nah, the worst one was Tahiti, when we had that whole week of… I was first heat every day, and you’re trying to figure out if it’s going to be barrels or turns, showing up each morning with a few different boards. That was definitely the trickiest. (It obviously worked: Mick won the event).

What will you eat for breakfast on the morning of the event? I’ve just been doing some cereal and fruit, or maybe a smoothie. Nothing crazy. I’ve gotten rid of all the bacon and eggs. They’re just for special occasions now.

Do you think having a child would be distracting from a world title? I guess you’d have to ask Joel that one. For him, he’s got such good support in Monica, she’s a good mum and on contest days, she pretty much takes over. But I think sometimes he likes the distraction of it all, because he doesn’t have to think. I haven’t been in that position, so when I have kids I’ll be able to comment more.

That steam ain't from Mick's paddling fury. But, you're forgiven for the mistake. Repositioning at Lowers. Photo: ASP

Do you ever read books based on where you are in your life? I tried to read a couple over the last few events, but they never really panned out. I like biographies, I like learning about different people and seeing the way that they look at life. I do like reading, but if a book doesn’t get up and go straight away, I get bored easily.

What’s your most deadly turn? When I’m not super confident I go to my frontside slice, just because I’ve done it a million times out at Snapper. But it forever changes, and changes from board to board. You look at conditions and figure out what’s right there and then.

You must have a 17-point rule. You score 17 points in nearly every heat. Discuss. For this year, I’ve been trying to concentrate on performance. I haven’t really been focussing on results. It’s been about surfing the best I possibly can each time, and maybe that’s just from that, but getting 17 points in every heat isn’t something I’ve been concentrating on.

Hypothetical: You win a heat with 19 points and the contest’s on tomorrow. At dinner, do you reward yourself with a glass of red? I don’t tend to drink too much. It’s sorta only at the end of the event, ’cause the job’s not done until it’s done. But, it depends what company I’m in and if it’s a really fun vibe and everyone’s drinking, maybe I’ll have a small glass of wine. I tend to stick to water, though.

Did that take a long time to learn? When I first got on tour, it was any opportunity to have a beer, just ’cause everything was so young and fun. So, I delved into it. But when I tore my hamstring off the bone I looked back at all the different results that I had and thought, “if I was a little bit fresher that day, I could’ve got through that heat”. I had six months to sit on the couch and think about it. That’s when the drinking thing got pushed to the side and became work before play. It just feels better at the end of the event, if you’ve done well and you have a beer and know you deserved it.

This is your 12th year in France. What’s the best thing about it? I love it just because it’s so exciting. You don’t know if you’ve got the right bank, you’re guessing where it’s gonna be good at what time, everyone’s texting each other to figure out where’s best to surf. It’s fun and exciting and if you get a sneaky surf and someone misses it, you feel good about yourself, but then if it’s the other way around you feel shit (laughs). It’s a really fun vibe.

After Fiji, you said you weren’t worrying about the title race. Since then you’ve won an event and you’re still leading. When do you start thinking about it? After Tahiti I thought about it but then at the end of the day you can’t think about it too much ’cause you’re gonna paddle out in a heat and just crumble. That happened at Trestles. There were heats where I was pretty nervous and didn’t feel super comfortable. Hopefully I can turn that around and focus on surfing just what’s in front of me. I’ve got to let the competition stuff work itself out. – Elliot Struck

It's not all rail work. The tail get blown often, too. Lowers. Photo: ASP

  • ron

    SLICK FANNING

    • this could be the last time

      mick is in shape. nice interview with good words. a true athlete. but I would really not commemorate his world title yet. much still to be seen and there are major threats on the tour that can hang on the wall his title for a few more years. after steamer lane we will get a more formed opinion to discuss. hang on mick.

      • Gangster

        I think mick has a lot more experience than you in that world.Maybe just enjoy what he says and keep your stupid comments to yourself

    • chris thommoas

      True Australian !! yew

  • Mike

    Good interview.

  • Thommo

    The man.. and ever the professional.. thats why Mick will always be a great surfer and my fav… Take note kiddies and brazzo’s… if you ever wana win a world title, textbook 101 right there along with Slater… Of course…

  • jjj

    yeah mick, the consumate professional

  • john

    go get another Mick!! hail to your surfing mate!! being from the states, i would like to ask this if i may… do you Australians consider him the best champ you’ve ever produced?? personally i’d like to see him get a third so he can be up there with Andy

    • Aquaba

      MR – 4 straight titles, won everywhere, pipe, macking waimea, bells, shapes unreal boards, says g’day to everyone and anyone in the surf, zero pretention, farkin legend. Mick’s got a little way to go (Mick would say MR too, you should ask him STAB)

    • Blunt

      Layne beachly

  • The sandman

    Gee it was great to see power surfing with combos being rewarded at Lowers this year. Hopefully the judging will continue to reward power rail surfing with explosive airs and weed out any weak flicky air reverses guys getting through heats on one move.
    Yes there were some odd judging calls at lowers this year I know but at least waves are being destroyed again.
    Go Mick.

  • ajalee

    Luv ya mick!
    And JOhn from the US – Yes he’s have to be considered Australias best competitive surfer by now -and well deserved especially if he gets 3 this year! yeeoow

  • SW

    Yeah Mick!! Australia’s best and most professional surfer

  • Darren Handley Designs
  • helmut lang

    i still remember when that smith bloke crashed fannings world title party in hawaii, more interested in his helmut lang shirt than giving fanning any repect, what is he doing now?

  • dolly.

    #TeamFanno for life.

  • Spitball

    The beauty of mick is that he has always remained true to himself. Always drawn the clean fast line, stayed with what works for him, stayed with his shaper, stayed with pure lines and arcs. In many ways a modern, more successful version of Taylor with a better head for the game and now some new tricks. It is one thing to string together a run of results like Owen or medina or stumble I,nto a world title in hob good fashion but it is a whole different level to come back from injuries and losses of mojo and be on top again and to do it quietly and professionally? Mick stands above everyone else on tour in the manhood and maturity department. He does his country proud.

  • Walt

    How good is it to read a list of positive responses on STAB regarding MF. He is the best roll model for the groms and surfs like only a few ever have.

  • The public

    Mick for pm!

  • L

    Mick for mayor of the GC

  • B

    Yawn, super boring, standard questions. I don’t know whether they were actually meant to take the piss or just playing safe since the most honest “like….ever” Fanning article by Smith.

    • Suck a dick B

      Your a fagget

  • sam

    mick is a legend. fuck year mick. go mick, fuckin go!

  • Ikaika

    Im hawaiian and i think mick fanning is the best surfer ever. Its all about speed and flow. Im also 14 if anyones wondering. FANNING THE FIRE all day.

    • tommie

      Just because you are Hawaiian doesnt add credibility to your opinion. In fact calling Mick the greatest surfer ever in light of what Slater has proven proves my point exactly. More World Titles have come out of FLORIDA than Hawaii. Its a very harsh reality for Hawaiians to accept.Floridians have suredf better than Hawaiians. PERIOD. End of story.

  • DONNIE

    definitly not layne. has to be MR then mick. stephs outdone layne in my opinion already even with less titlles

  • james b

    Yeah the same bottom hand turn , top turn we have seen for years , same old shit!

    • The sandman

      Better than watching 50 flicky Air Rs in a 3min clip now thats gay.

  • f…ing marionnete

    now what a coincidence sandymate. sadly, robbot “the fire” fanning can’t even nail a proper (swine flu bullshit talk) reo. you tell me what can be gayer than that?
    wilko’s wetsuit may be gayer than that i guess..
    i’m glad some of these fuckers will never come back to the tour, ever again!

  • Rob

    Everyone loves Cool Hand Mick because he’s got great style. Aussies, Americans, etc. There is a reason Parko hasn’t won it all (shite style).

  • kurt

    Has to be occy:

  • Joshua Tree

    He wont beat Kelly dream on Fanny

  • tommie

    Mick is amazing but Kelly CLEARLY beat him with a better wave in the Finals at Bells.Mick couldnt do what Kelly did on that wave in a million yrs. Sad to see the judges highjack the title race with partisan calls like at Bells.

    • luke egan

      oi tommie ya dads ya dad

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