Fanning Receives Hero's Welcome

Will Hayden-Smith

(COOLANGATTA, QLD/Australia) After a massive week and an even bigger year, newly crowned three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning spent a few days on the North Shore before returning home to Australia.

Mick snuck under the media's radar and returned to the Gold Coast, then woke up early and went for a surf at his beloved Snapper Rocks. A mob of the country's biggest media outlets waited for him at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club, but Mick was still happy to stop and talk, shake hands and even take selfies with fan after fan as he exited the surf.

ASP caught up with the beaming Fanning to find out how he felt nearly a week after one of the most exciting days in competitive surfing history which saw him claim his third crown.

After you won you were almost speechless, how are you feeling now?

I still feel the same, but it's been great to have time to reflect and talk with people I'm closest too. I'm still speechless about it all, but it's slowly sinking in. It feels great though.

When you think back to your semifinal against Kelly Slater at Kirra in March, did you imagine back then that it'd be you and him fighting it out until Pipe?

When you have the major contenders from the year before make the finals of the first event you know it's going to be a crazy year. I had a feeling that it was going to be similar placings to last year with Joel (Parkinson), and Kelly right up there. Those guys have been on fire the last few years so I knew it would go down to the wire.

Everyone is always hyping up the younger generation, but it seems to always be the same contenders in the world title race.

If you go back in history it took Joel and I few years to even get in World Title contention and to get consistent over a full year. We saw John John (Florence) have a solid back half of the year after coming back from an injury, and I think Jordy (Smith) really found his feet this year as well as Julian (Wilson), those guys are going to be super strong next year. Owen Wright will also be up there, he'll have the hunger to bounce back after his injury too.

After 12 years on the World Championship Tour, are you still excited for next year?

For Sure! There are some changes coming for the ASP, some people are scared of change but I think it's exciting. I am just as anxious to see how it all goes as much as everyone else is, but it's going to be cool. Can't wait.

Three ASP World Titles, just like Andy Irons and Tom Curren, what does that feel like?

I look at all of the ASP World Champions with so much admiration because you know how much each person put into it. For three, wow, I was I happy with one. After the first one I didn't care if I didn't get anymore, then all of the sudden something clicks in your head and you want to go for it again. It's sort of an addiction trying to reach those goals.

You often hear it's hard for surfers to balance competing and doing movie projects, but you managed to make a Taylor Steele movie and win an ASP World Title.

Yeah the movie Missing came at the perfect time for me, I was able to take some focus of competition and I think it helped me. It put everything in perspective and I learnt so much about myself. It taught me some life lessons, to let go of the control a bit more. That trip was a huge goal I had for this year and all the people on that project were great and I'm really happy with how it all came out.

What are you doing between now and the Quiksilver Pro?

I'll just be at home hopefully! My family and my wife's family are coming around for Christmas and I'll be working in the kitchen. That's about as far as I've planned ahead and it's only a few days away. I don't like to have too many plans when I'm at home. I'll catch up with some of the crew and enjoy it here as much as I can before hitting the road again.

With the 2013 season behind us and an exciting 2014 ahead, the ASP has put together a flip book reflecting on the Fanning's incredible run to yet another ASP World Title and the victories from each stop this season.