can you dig it?
Mick Fanning has been diggin' retirement.
Can you think of a single surfer more universally beloved than Mick Fanning? Go ahead, I'll wait. Nothing? I figured as much. The reason you're drawing a total blank is because Fanning did it right. He surfed his way to three world titles, he kept his chin up through unbearable personal hardship, at some point he punched a shark and then won a contest in that same shark's backyard, and he gave a classy farewell to competition by stepping aside and letting the next generation get to work, even though he could have easily jousted for titles for years longer. So it's only fitting that Fanning has been living it up in his post-Tour phase. What's he been up to, you ask? Hear it from the horse's mouth below.
Surfing waves too good to talk about:
"For me, it's all about going to new places now," says Fanning. "Specifically? Umm...yeah...nah, probably don't wanna throw that out there [laughs.] But there are a whole bunch of areas I've never been to that I really wanna visit and just put myself in different kinds of waves. I don't want to be that guy who chases the best swells to the same place everyone else is going. I'm going to places a bit further out there, places where you know you might only find a couple of guys, or no one at all. I set some time aside so I could be ready to jump on it when it looks like it's all coming together, and I'm in one of those periods right now where I'm just searching maps all day, every day, trying to find something new and fun. I wake up each day wondering, "Am I gonna be here this afternoon, or am I out the door?"
"I'm a lot more patient now in the lineup. I can sit and wait for 10 minutes for a wave and not have a single worry, where before I'd constantly feel like I need to stay busy and keep catching waves. When you're on trips and you're filming and getting photos, it's about quality, not quantity. You don't need to catch a hundred waves like you do in your freesurfs to warm up before an event. Now I can just wait for the best waves and make 'em count when they come."
Retired, but far from bored:
"I sort of just fell into some really good projects. The brewery, Balter [which Fanning co-owns on the Gold Coast], is going really well. Everyone's just super excited that we get to do this and keep it growing. Then there's the our softboard company, which is going really fun. We can't make enough of those things, and we're getting really good feedback, so that's really cool. Outside of the business world, I'm trying to look at new ideas to help the environment and help animals through Wild Arc. We've got some really cool projects that hopefully come to fruition throughout the year in different places. I'm really excited about all of it."