- WSL / AntFox
- WSL / AntFox

Mick Fanning deserves this.

By now you've seen it. The 3x World Champ's yearlong quest for new adventure just culminated in one of the biggest scores imaginable on a recent strike mission.

Fanning and some friends (who remain anonymous for now) enjoyed endless spinning caverns at one of the best sand-bottom rights imaginable. While the location is very much undisclosed, rest assured that at this very moment several surfers with high clearance credentials (yeah, they're out there) are diving deep into dark corners of the web to uncover it.

For now, however, the rest of us will have to dream.

This score was made the old-fashioned way, on whispers and whims. It involved a lot of patience, persistence and the destruction of any paper trail. In today's hyper-connected world, surfers like Mick have to lie directly to the face of loved ones to pull this kind of stunt off. Any clues one can extract from the Rip Curl Search piece about the mission indicate that this wave is one that rarely breaks…but when it does, it's clearly machinelike.

Fanning's dream time Fanning, reveling in solitude. - WSL / AntFox

But this is no machine. And that's the beauty of this find.

You may recall that this time last year the entire surfing spy network was searching for Kelly Slater's wave machine. It took less than a few weeks to dig it up. This wave, however, seems to be hiding in plain sight, along some tiny ribbon of beach that's probably been pondered, scanned, and even searched thousands of times.

Fortunately, mother nature has a way of covering her tracks. If the elements aren't in place it's almost impossible to know what's there, unless you're right there, right then, at ground level, as all the elements come together.

Fanning's Score The waves break incredibly close to shore, even on a good day, which helps keeps this place hidden from satellite surveillance. - WSL

For Fanning, his first glance at the real thing came in the pre-dawn darkness. He knew right away what he was dealing with. After all, this wave spins down the beach looking very much like his beloved Snapper Rocks back home. The march of the white lines in the darkness. Their speed. The sounds of the lips cracking. This was the Superbank au natural. No pumps. No intake valves. And certainly no Super-crowd.

For Fanning, the chance to be alone somewhere like this has been one of his biggest goals since stepping away from full-time competition. While much has been written about his emotional rollercoaster in 2015, it's still impossible for anyone to grasp what it's like to be the most talked-about person on the planet, if only for a few days.

Fanning's Find
Fanning finds what he's looking for in the pre-dawn darkness.

The shark at J-Bay was far kinder to Fanning than the media sharks that followed. And dealing with that while also coming to grips with the loss of his brother was reason enough to head for the hills. Fanning had to get away…and damned if that's exactly what he's been doing.

Racing Fanning got to open things up on the empty track, making good use of his accelerator. - WSL / AntFox

We saw his huge smile return in 2016. Whether it was his adventures in Alaska, or his triumphant return to Africa, or the dozens of other places in between, it's been a very nice year for Mick. He looks as fit and happy as ever as he heads back to Snapper…or not?

What if this wave works on the same swell as Snapper? If it does, Mick may very well be MIA more often. And that will undoubtedly get the rest of us triangulating.

See more at thesearch.ripcurl.com.

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