What do you do once you have reached the summit of the tallest mountain on earth? Do it again? Or climb a different one? In Kelly Slaters case, he’s doing both at the same time. Mick Fanning? He’s keeping it alot more simple. One of the only 26 men on earth that can call themselves World Surfing Champions, Mick’s path seems to be full of bubble gum and happy dreams. Especially his first search trip since his official retirement seen here. His is the ultimate retirement on the ultimate search. One where the back slapping need never end.
It started with that loopy trip he took with loopy Mason Ho to Alaska. Goofy hats and hi-jinks. Then that trip to God-knows-where by himself in those long rights…no wait, he went with a full film crew, and rumors of armed guards and a helicopter. Certainly jet-ski’s. But no matter, his latest clip, didn’t quite come across as the dropped clip promo’s the others were. This Post retirement trip felt more…real. Maybe it was the familiar sights of the great, roping, blue water waves… again. Perhaps it was this that made his latest trip easier to grasp.
In the realm of reality. Mick as a bloke on a surf trip. Zeus down from the mountain to play with us mortals. His surfing looked sharp, looser, a scent more creative. After all, he is allowed to wipe-out now. He need not “Finish” the wave. He need merely to ride it the way he wants to. And in that is a question. Will he? Can He? After the blueprint he stuck to through three world titles, is he going to be able to draw some new lines? This search trip seemed to allow him that. And maybe that was because that’s the thing about friends. They know more about you than you do. They know what you want. What you really need.
Just ask Mick’s friends, who picked him up and took him on this secret spot search. Mick looking fit, but still buzzing with energy. As if the lightning it took to power his career has yet to dim. But it was the imagery of Mick just being a “bloke”, one of us, that fired a new imagination. Aside from Mark Richards and Fred Hemmings, no other former champion has so gracefully, or so quickly slid into his autumn years. Mick has the chance here to create a whole new mythology. As vital and exciting to us as Kelly’s creation theory moonshots.
Kelly is our Neil Armstrong, never to be outdone in history, ever. But Kelly is so remote. As distant as his new millenium goals, whatever they are. No, Mick has the chance to become one of us. Giving each and every man, woman and surfing child a new kind of hero. One not lost to Booze or business or heroin or Cocaine or weed or Mania or arrogance or destitution or bitterness or fat or tax evasion or even transgender surgery. No, Mick has the chance to create a whole new kind of hero. Himself.