Mick Fanning talks Kelly Slater’s wave pool and surfing’s biggest rivalry; podcast

If you have yet to give the podcast “We Are Looking Sideways” a listen yet, then let this be a much-needed introduction.

Hosted by the United Kingdom’s Matt Barr, it dives into the action sports world with guests like Alex Honnold, Fergal Smith, Jamie Brisick, Andrew Cotton and most recently, Mick Fanning.

In the episode with Fanning, Barr meets up with the three-time world surfing champ in Hossegor, France for a chat about all things under the sun. And Fanning, as he has began to do after the near-death experience at Jeffreys Bay in 2015, was very candid and discussed personal issues intimately.

Fanning touches upon his involvement with the Future Surf Classic event at Kelly Slater’s wave pool back in September, of which he says, “Just to see the way that everyone approaches it differently. It was a big eye-opener to see what can be done.”

He continued to go on about the wave pool itself:

“Everyone that was there was generally stoked. That’s a huge testament to Kelly and the team that created this thing. For people that can’t get to the ocean, I think it’s going to change lives for sure. I’m really excited to see where it goes. It’s going to open up surfing to another bigger audience again.”

The iconic Australian surfer also tells a pretty hilarious story about being followed by helicopters at home after his shark encounter at Jeffreys Bay. He pivots to telling how that incident opened things up for him and let him make the change that he so desperately needed in his life with his connection to surfing:

“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.”

Fanning also talks about coming up as a youngster on tour and having a first-row seat for the greatest rivalry in surfing: Kelly Slater vs. Andy Irons. “It was such an exciting time in surfing because the rivalry was so intense. They genuinely actually hated each other.”

Obviously one of the greatest surfers to have ever lived, getting insight into Fanning’s mind like this is a rare occurrence and well worth the hour-long listen.

Check out more of the “We Are Looking Sideways” podcast here.

Mick Fanning at the recent Quiksilver Pro France. Photo: Laurent Masurel/WSL

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