How Two World Champions Sold Mick Fanning An Empty African Point-Break - Stab Mag

Live Now: How Surfers Get Paid — The Queens of Ascension


How Two World Champions Sold Mick Fanning An Empty African Point-Break

What’s a million views worth to you?

features // Aug 2, 2023
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 2 minutes
If this song isn’t forever seared in your brain, we aren’t friends.

Mick Fanning didn’t find The Snake.

And we know who did.

In fact, they’re the ones who filmed the GoPro footage and the water shots in Mick’s million-view Rip Curl clip. They also happen to both be World Champions, who surfed the wave for nearly a decade before they shared it with Mick.

Of course, if you’ve watched Season 2, Ep. 1 of How Surfers Get Paid, you already know this.

Throughout the release of the episode —  which we titled The Greatest Story NEver TSold — we’ve been relatively guarded about releasing any details which might betray the plot. At this point, though, we figure word has gotten around, so we’re comfortable sharing a few facts. Like,

  • The sellers first tried to get Kelly Slater to bite. When he didn’t show interest, they took the wave to the people’s champ, and Rip Curl.
  • They refused to tell Rip Curl who would be photographing and filming what would become their most successful modern Search campaign. To put the marketing director’s mind at ease, they offered him a money-back guarantee.
  • Mick still won’t say where it is.

After watching the original Search clip on Youtube in 2017, I distinctly recall swapping tabs over to Google Satellite and hunting for every equatorial sandspit on Earth.

Presumably, so did all of the other 970,000 viewers and, despite hucking out more NDAs than Dirk Ziff on a Brazilian vacation, word of the would-be wave capitalists began to trickle through the surf industry.

Nothing but whispers, to start. Then Mick returned to the wave with Tyler Wright, and the whispers grew louder. (One of Stab’s staff members was lurking just out of frame of that Tyler trip. He’d told his coworkers he was going camping in Mexico.) Countless commenters dropped pins on various sand points around the world.

Take 2: didn’t quite hit like the first time.

“It’s hard to continuously lie and keep things a complete secret,” one of the wave’s keepers told us. “When you’re flying out of Cape Town or Durban, everybody is going to the West Coast for the same swells in Namibia. They see you in the airport with boardbags and then, all of a sudden, you’re not on the flight?”

Click here for every detail along Mick’s road to regular footed Zion, and how the most interesting man in surfing made $xxx,xxx off one wave.


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