Before Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach hit the water in pumping conditions, we were able to catch up with two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning to get his take on how the 2011 season is starting off, what’s he got going under his feet and what it means to be part of the event’s 50th anniversary celebration.
What have you been doing to keep yourself focused and prepared since the Snapper contest a month ago?
Mate, not a great deal, to be honest. I've been surfing when there's waves and working on boards. We've had some dream swells on the east coast of Oz during the break so I've just been surfing my guts out.
When there are waves I generally put training on the backburner because there's no better training for surfing than surfing. I did the Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River, which sort of snapped me back into competition mode, and now I'm down here at Bells ready to go.
"The Bells trophy is actually more iconic than the World Title cup."
You've mentioned you're pretty happy with your boards right now, any specific changes that are making a difference?
I'm back on a 6' 0". The last couple of years I dropped down an inch to a 5' 11" but I started feeling like I was missing some drive in my turns so I've stepped it back up and it feels better. We've made some modifications to the tail shape so the board is still super loose and I can still get a little loony on it.
50 years of Bells - what's it mean to be part of that history?
It's unreal. I've been thinking about it a lot this week. I watched an interview with Mark Richards on the Rip Curl site the other day and he was talking about the trophy and how The Bell is the best trophy in surfing. He was spot-on.
I love my Bells trophy; it's the pride of my trophy cabinet. It's a bizarre thing to say, but the Bells trophy is actually more iconic than the World Title cup.
Did you fly to Bells or go on an MP-style road trip?
Ha! I don't think I'd survive an MP-style road trip. I just flew down; the drive is a little draining. A road trip would have been fun and I've done it in the past but I was just keen to log some hang time at home before heading down there this year.
How important is a good result at Bells to setting up the rest of the season?
Well, history tells us a good result at Bells is crucial in a successful World Title campaign. For me, Bells is even more important this year because I had a bloody shocker on the Gold Coast.
What may be something unique that the judges will be looking for at Bells?
Big, high-risk moves are what's been turning them on. Bells is a unique wave though, and sometimes the judges have a unique way of scoring the place, so I don't think we'll know until we see scores start dropping in during the first heat. I always get down there a few heats before just to see what they're after.
Julian and Kelly have golf, the Hobgoods play tennis; you pick up any hobbies or pastimes lately?
I've been getting into a lot of yoga lately; I'm kind of hooked on it at the moment. I'm also playing touch footy too, which is kind of like rugby league without the tackles.
How closely are you following the build up to the William/Kate wedding?
Really closely… They're using my wife's wedding directory website to plan the royal wedding. It's awesome!