Beyond the WSL

One of the brightest lights in the surfing firmament hung up his contest rashie for good. The Bells event was his last CT event and a fitting place to bow out of his stellar competitive career. Mick, of course, isn’t retiring totally, there is an awful lot of planet left for him to explore as Sharpy found out.

Photos Redbull content pool

What’s the worst part about being a brewery owner?
The recycling bin at home is always full. Umm … other than that there really isn’t any downside.

Have there been any more sessions at the Snake to your knowledge?
Not that I know of. I still frequently get asked where it is. I’ll never tell.

You’re more well travelled than most surfers on the planet, are there any spots still on your hit list?
There are still heaps, nowhere in particular though. There are world class waves I want to check out but also some countries and destinations that have novelty waves I’d love to experience.

Who are your favourite people to travel with? Both surfer and photog/filmer wise.
Travelling for me is more about the people I meet along the way. In saying that I’ve been on the road with my photog mate Corey Wilson and he always makes things pretty damn funny. Mason Ho is also a classic to explore with. One of my favourite things to do is take friends from home on trips to places I’ve been before. I get to show them around and it makes the adventure feel fresh for me too.

Shooting that Northern Lights session in Norway how cold was it surfing at night in the Arctic Circle?
Pretty damn cold. Shrivel factor was extreme. In saying that you’re going to the Arctic so you’re mentally prepared and you got all the gear for it. Nothing a good old soak in a hot tub didn’t fix.

Insane as the wave pools are getting won’t the lack of paddle battles and wave choice remove the drama?
I don’t think so. There will still be drama when competitors are chasing scores and they only have one opportunity to nail it. It’s one event in the schedule that will have a really unique feel and we don’t really know what format they’ll run with or if the criteria will be any different. I think it’s gonna be fun.

Following up pool comps will become more like half pipe comps, all about nailing a routine, are the judges ready for that?
We’ll see. I’m not sure they’ve locked down the criteria for it just yet. The WSL has had plenty of time to run through the event plan and I’m sure they’re exploring the best formula for the Surf Ranch event.

Does the muscle you tore off your arse still give you gip when it’s cold?
It’s actually not too bad. I’m always stretching it and doing Pilates so it doesn’t tighten up.

Did you ever expect a sandal with a bottle opener in the sole to be such a winner?
Not as much as it has. It felt like it could be something that surfers might find useful but I’ve been to some landlocked parts of the world and seen people rocking the sandal and that kind of blows my mind. I’m sure they have no idea who I am but the idea of a bottle opener in your sandals gets them over the line.

How much does it pain you to miss a cyclone swell at home?
It stings for sure, nothing better than getting shacked at home. I’ve been lucky enough to catch so many good waves around the world while my mates back home are getting nothing so I don’t complain about a missed swell here and there though.

You have been an emotional roller coaster over the last 18 months or so. What is the most valuable lesson you have learned? There is a huge crisis in men’s mental health at the moment. Issues about anxiety, depression, isolation, high rates of suicide and the conflict between ‘being a man’ and being able to talk problems through. Any advice for people reading this who are suffering.
First up there’s nothing wrong with telling friends and family that you aren’t doing so great but you have to be open to accepting their help. I leaned on my mates through the hard times and they were there for me in a big way.

Post Bells are you going to get stuck in to making some of the sickest Search films ever? And if so can we come?
I’m definitely looking forward to going on The Search with Rip Curl and some of the team. It’s going to be fun to explore some different locations that aren’t tour stops. Can you come? That depends. Can you keep a secret?

You can follow Mick on Instagram here