Mick Fanning had a pretty disappointing time competing in Brazil this year, and he's the first one to admit it. "The left was fat the whole time we were there. The right at Santa Catarina can get really good in a south swell, but it never came," he confesses. "It was pretty bad."
We caught up with the champ in the lineup at Duranbah, fresh off the plane from Brazil after his crushing Round Four loss to Taylor Knox. Unlike many of his fellow Aussie comrades, who are battling it out for ratings points at Trestles, Fanning is just cruising in his local hood.
Today he tore strips off a breakwall righthander miles from the hype and theatrical production of the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro PRIME. There wasn't a photographer in sight. There were no ear-piercing teens, no pen-wielding fans lunging over each other's shoulders trying to get to the world champ. No journalists in his face. No commentators calling his very move. Just a zippy wave, a few surfers and calm, soothing rainfall.
In his mustard yellow and black wetsuit, he sailed through the lineup smiling and chatting with people. Fanning looked relaxed and content -- for a split second he was just another guy surfing his home break. That is, until he takes off on a wave. Then he stands out like a bucket of soy sauce.
And his plans between now and Jeffreys Bay? Absolutely nothing at all. Some training, some downtime and a lot of surfing. "It's great to be home," says Fanning as he turns and begins stroking for the best wave of the set. "I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can for the next two months."