021: Mick Fanning/The Year Out

Mick, Norway. Photo: Emil Sollie / Red Bull Content Pool

“It just felt like this weight lifted off my shoulders. I felt the inner energy coming back. Just felt like I could start working on myself, and start growing internally so I could feel human again.”

I welcomed a true legend onto the Looking Sideways Action Sports Podcast for episode 021:  3 x World Champion, renowned shark puncher and all-round Aussie surfing superstar Mick Fanning.

I headed round to Mick’s place during my recent surf trip to Hossegor in the South West of France, and we got stuck into his life and career during the course of a hugely enjoyable conversation.

Photo: Ted Grambeau

Whether it’s the wildcard win at Bells back in 2001 that served notice of his talent, those 3 World Championship titles, that infamous 2015 run-in with a Great White or his recent return to the tour after a much-needed year out, Mick’s lived an incredible life by any standards.

He is also, as I discovered, a supremely laidback and welcoming character, and during our conversation we covered the lot.

Listen out for:

  • Mick’s thoughts on surfing Kelly’s wave, and what it means for the future of surfing.
  • His unique insights into the Andy v Kelly rivalry.
  • How Mick’s year out helped him recharge his surf career.
  • How the tour has changed – both in general and for Mick in particular.

Yep, we all know Mick charges. But in essence, this was an in-depth conversation with a man who’s lived a rollercoaster life, and is constantly striving to learn from the past, keep moving and keep evolving. A real pleasure to talk to you Mick. Thanks for coming onto the show and getting into the spirit of the Looking Sideways podcast!

If you only have five minutes…

Listen to this section - Mick on having a ringside seat during the Kelly v Andy show.

Connect with Mick

Show notes

  • Fun times in Munich
  • Private session at Kelly’s Wave Ranch
  • The experience of surfing Kelly’s wave
  • Surfing at the Future Surf Classic
  • Mick’s views on the controversy around the wave pool
  • 18 years coming to SW France
  • Early years surfing with the family around NSW
  • Sliding doors moment – soccer or surfing?
  • First moves into pro surfing
  • Early influences and progression
  • ‘We had this leapfrog effect. We more we pushed each other, the better we did’
  • Early years on the tour.
  • Ringside seat to the Kelly and Andy show
  • The influence and aura of Andy Irons
  • How Mick took it up a notch
  • ‘I’m gonna skip second and go and win’
  • Feeling unbeatable. 
  • Mick’s mental preparation and the importance of channeling confidence
  • The daily routine – ticking boxes
  • The importance of preparation
  • Mulling over a year off
  • ‘At the end of 2015 I just had nothing left. I felt empty’
  • The aftermath of the J Bay shark attack
  • Hiding in the house for five days.
  • Being chased by the Channel 7 helicopter
  • The practicalities of taking a year out.
  • The different experience of travelling alone
  • Trips to Alaska with Rip Curl and Wild Ark
  • Wild Ark’s work in Alaska and wider mission
  • Mick’s work with Starlight Foundation
  • How the decision to go back on tour came about.
  • How Mick is experiencing the tour in a different way.
  • “I feel like I’m more relaxed and can enjoy things what they are”
  • Mick’s internal drive and where it comes from.
  • How the Tour has changed today, both in and out of the ocean.
  • “I enjoy applying my style of surfing to this new challenge
  • What the future holds for Mick
  • His new business endeavours
  • The journey of discovering new waves
  • Mick’s last surf – Kirra

Places Mentioned

  • Austria
  • Germany
  • Munich
  • Oktoberfest
  • Berlin
  • Salzburg
  • Trestles
  • Greenmount
  • Hossegor
  • Penrith
  • Coff’s Harbour
  • Campbelltown
  • Woolangong
  • Manly
  • Ballina
  • Byron
  • Gold Coast
  • Currumbin
  • Palm Beach
  • Kirra
  • J-Bay
  • Bells Beach
  • Pipeline
  • Snapper
  • Alaska
  • Ireland
  • Berlin
  • Norway
  • Amsterdam
  • Dublin
  • Lahinch
  • Limerick
  • Bundoran
  • Malin Head
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Riley’s
  • Kruger National Park

People Mentioned

Companies/Organisations/Projects mentioned