Mick Fanning Predicts His Life In 2019
On letting go of the steering wheel, filming an iconic surf film, and the unexplained sunbathing colony that’s sprung up in front of his Tugun bachelor pad.
Darren Handley stands on Mick Fanning’s Tugun balcony.
“Look at that, see that pack,” he says pointing at two different clusters of girls, sunbaking on the beach in front.
“No one sun bakes here. After Mick’s divorce, there were suddenly these packs of women, just lining the beach, trying to get his attention. Who fucken’ sunbakes, topless, in Tugun!?”
Darren is candid and comfortable around Mick. 25 years working together will do that and a lengthy relationship always leads itself to the odd warm torching.
“Now that he doesn’t have a job, I hope he doesn’t pester me too much in the factory,” says Darren.
We were on hand at the Fanning household whilst working on the “No Contest” – a Stab x Red Bull joint, second best to strapping a GoPro to Mick’s dome.
The house is a fucking minefield.
“Now that he doesn’t have a job, I hope [Mick] doesn’t pester me too much in the factory,” says Darren Hanley.
As we walked up the stairs to his Hamptons-style home in Tugun (we didn’t take the elevator), the place is rife with folks trying to get a piece of Mick. We’re just as guilty, and take our place on the couch to wait.
The WSL wrap their interviews as we enter. He then gives MMA fighter and surfer Richie Vaculik over an hour helping with a charity, along with a good friend. He shoots interviews, signs WSL jerseys. He is completely, genuinely engaged.
Ted Grambeau drops his new book off. Mick signs them, says he’ll give them a push on his social channels.
“I’ve also had some really memorable moments with Mick over the years,” Ted Grambeau tells Stab.
We take the spotlight for over 45 minutes and during the interview guests continue to stream up the stairs. Photographer-to-the-stars and current live-in resident, Corey Wilson plays doorman, ushering in guests, offering refreshments.
Wilko, Owen, Gabby and Co. waltz in for a team shoot. Like everyone else before them, they’re warmly welcomed.
“Come in, boys! Make yourselves at home!” Mick booms.
His dog Harper barks at each new arrival, “It’s okay, Harps… Harps, it’s oh-kay.”
Mick’s one-time coach Jarrad Howse has always told me Mick’s work ethic is like nothing he’s ever seen. Jarrad spent 12 months in Mick’s camp, as well as doing stints with Julian Wilson and Jordy Smith.
“You’ve never seen anything like it in your life,” Jarrad said. “He is selfless, like nothing you’ve ever seen. Unlike any other pro surfer. He’d spread himself thin, at his own detriment. If he’d commit to something, he’d never, ever, no-show, or show up late. Hangover or no, if he said was on, he was on. Always doing something for other people. He looks after families all over the world, never ever forgets those people he grew up with. He’d wake from a 40-minute nap and he’d have 20 missed calls and 40 texts. And he’d reply to em all!”
We’d received one such text—”Yeah mate, just chilling at home. Come over and I’ll come let you in”—just prior to our entrance into the Fanning hive, for the conversation below.
Mick Fanning, free to roam.
Is there anything that scares you about the other side?
The scariest thing is just not having a schedule. The tour is such a comfortable place. You got to be here, on these days, to do this. I knew what I had to do to get ready for events. It’s comfortable.
Getting out of my comfort zone. Going and putting myself in places where I feel my only commitment is just going. That’s when I learn the most. That’s what really excites me.
Where will you be in 12 months?
I don’t know if I want to be [on the Gold Coast], or somewhere else.
I know if I am, I’m definitely not going to be the guy paddling out in the mornings, while everyone’s getting ready [for the 2019 Quik Pro]. That’s one of the most frustrating things [laughs]. I’ll be like, “Alright, guys, you go do your thing.” I’ll probably take a hiatus from Snapper for those two weeks [laughs].
Do you still get frustrated when you’re trying to warm up for the event?
I don’t get frustrated. But I see how frustrated everyone else gets, and I think: I just don’t want to add to that frustration for people.
I really don’t care if I get dropped in on in the water. It doesn’t bother me. As long as I don’t get injured, it’s fine.
“I’ll probably take a hiatus from Snapper for about two weeks,” Mick tells Stab.
Stab: What do you think you’ll be riding?
Mick: I don’t know. I’m looking at single fins and twin fins right now, but I don’t know.
I’ll probably have this thing where I just try and ride a a normal board, and think that I’m ripping or something, but I won’t be [laughs].
Stab: What waves on tour will you have surfed by this time next year?
Mick: J-Bay, Trestles, Fiji’s not on tour but I’ll probably go back there for sure, and Teahupoo as well.
Stab: What will you most definitely not surf?
Mick: Margaret River. I’m definitely not going to paddle out at Margaret River again, anytime in this lifetime.
Stab: What events will you accept wildcards in?
Mick: Accept wildcards [laughs]?
Probably just J-Bay. J-Bay’s just the event for me, it’s just easy. Between the whole setup that I’ve got there, and the friends and the family. It’s a place I want to go back to every year.
“Getting out of my comfort zone. Going and putting myself in places where I feel my only commitment is just going. That’s when I learn the most. That’s what really excites me.” Mick, 68 Degrees North, 2016.
Who do you hope will be retired?
John Florence will be retiring in 12 months.
No, I’m joking. I don’t know.
I think it’d be sick if Joel retired, so we could go do trips with him and Dingo, go do 33 degrees [laughs].
What weight will you be?
Mick: [Laughs] Well, if we go back three weeks ago, I was 83.5 (kg) [laughs]. I was huge. I weighed myself this morning. I’m 79. Going good. [Laughs]
Is there anyone’s transition from competitive surfing you aspire to?
Mick: Yes. I look at Taylor Knox and just– he’s been off-tour for so long, but he’s still super healthy, still really fit, still surfing so good. Because that’s the way that he wants to live.
That to me is awesome. That’s a big goal for me. Not to just have these peaks and valleys of fitness. That’s what you’re doing too when you get ready for an event.
As soon as the event’s done, you sort to have a bit of a blow-out and start eating hamburgers for a couple of days. Now it’s all about just trying to keep a level point through that whole year.
” It’s just about setting new goals… I want to put myself in new places, but I also want to try and create images, or create a film that’s really iconic.”
How will life be without that singular goal.
I’m very goal-oriented. It’s just about setting new goals.
It’s about the things that I want to do. I want to put myself in new places, but I also want to try and create images, or create a film that’s really iconic.
That’s something that really gets me fired up. That’s my goal.
I mean, have a look at Parko’s wave from yesterday. That’s going to be one of the most iconic photos, for a long, long time.To be able to create those is pretty special. [Ed.’s Note: The extraordinary image he’s referring to is an unseen photo of Joel Parkinson, riding this wave at Snapper, shot from the water by Corey Wilson. Corey is currently in a bidding war for the image, with $10k figure and magazine covers being thrown around. Stab is, sadly, not a bidder, though we’re intrigued to see where it lands.]
Does it feel like a rebirth for you?
I was always in control—of where I traveled, plans, where I stayed, what car I was driving.
To have that time off tour in 2016, and to give up the driver’s seat, just become a passenger—it was just truly incredible.
I felt I took more in. I took more in, with the people I was with. I took more in from the places that I was going.
Going into things with no expectations was incredible. That’s the thing that I’m really, really pumped to go and do.
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