Mick Fanning talks world titles, becoming a better person

Mick Fanning and the wave at The Billabong Pipe Masters which secured his third world title. Photo ASP/cestari

Mick Fanning and the wave at The Billabong Pipe Masters that secured his third world title; photo by ASP/cestari

How did Mick Fanning become a three-time world champion? By becoming a better person. GrindTV talks to the 32-year-old Australian about his year and his legacy.

You won your third ASP world title in huge waves at Hawaii's Pipeline. What does that win mean to you personally?

I guess when you reach a goal in life you can be very proud. But it just wasn’t me; I had a great team behind me that really pushed me to be a better person. Knowing that in my career and life there is always someone in my camp who will go the extra mile for me makes you realize that if they believe, then I should too.

You seemed to very calm and relaxed, not just in Hawaii but throughout the year.

Well, personally, I just felt I had my ducks in a row in life. Away from surfing I felt calm and for me that is a huge step in the right direction. I haven't always been that way. And to do the amazing things I got to do this year just made it so much sweeter. With other travels and via the film I did with Taylor Steele, it meant I could live and travel and not have my mind thinking about the tour. That was a great feeling and a huge weight off my mind.

And if you had lost the title, how do you think you would have reacted?

To be honest the world title wasn’t the be all and end all of the whole year. I had a great year personally and felt I had grown a lot from the great things I did all year. My main goal, though, was to perform when it counted—to not be scared of failure and try to live in the moment. Also, I made it a goal to spend some sort of time each day to myself just breathing, and that keeps you calm.

How have the three titles differed?

Well, the first was a bit of a blur, coming at just 25 years of age. For my second it took a whole lot of sacrifice, perhaps too much. I shut a lot of people out that year. And I probably didn't enjoy myself, my surfing, or the world title as I could have. Look, it worked, and maybe it was what I had to do at that stage of my life. So the enjoyment factor with this one is huge, and that's why it has been pretty special.

There was a fair bit of controversy surrounding your win, with some fans and experts claiming the wave that gave you victory was over-scored.

Throughout your career you have scores go either way all the time. You take the good with the bad and there is always going to be different opinions. I try not to get caught up in that and just go by what the judges are throwing. If I don’t get the score I think I try to figure out why and improve, but as I said, everyone has their opinion. I asked Parko [Joel Parkinson, his best mate and the 2012 ASP world champion] right after the wave, and he said yes, so that's enough for me.

Mick Fanning on the beach the second he heard the score that gave him the title. Photo asp/cestari

Mick Fanning on the beach the second he heard the score that gave him the title; photo by ASP/cestari

How do you top 2013, and what do you think your legacy will be?

I haven’t even thought about it, to be honest. As for my legacy, jeez, I really couldn’t tell you right now. As I said, 2013 was a massive year personally, professionally, and I did things I couldn’t imagine I would ever do. If I do half the things I did this year, I will be happy, and if I improve in different areas then that will be satisfying again.

And what's on now?

Well, I'm just about to jump on a plane and go on a holiday with my wife, Karissa. We are actually going to Thailand—no surfboards, no chat about swells, or heats, or any of that. Just some books, good food, a few beers, and plenty of R and R. That's the plan.

Mick Fanning wasn't kidding about his holiday to Thailand; photo from his Instagram

Mick Fanning wasn’t kidding about his holiday to Thailand; photo from his Instagram

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