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Beach Grit

Blood Feud: Mick Fanning vs. Airs

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

Never too old to learn!

I once said that Mick Fanning was the best-ever turner of a surfboard, but Surfing‘s photo editor Jimmy Wilson was quick to correct me. “Mick doesn’t do the most impressive individual turns,” Jim explained. “He’s just the best at linking them together.”

And he’s right!

Rarely if ever has Mick produced the type of grunting, growling, explosion of nose-pickery that we’ve come to expect from say… Dane Reynolds. For instance, many regard Dane’s upside-down, no-grab, under-the-lip-nose-pick at Haleiwa to be the best turn ever done on a surfboard. And Mick ain’t got none o’ dat! Airs neither!

Until now.

Mick has spent his retirement experimenting with aerial progression. Why not? Slater is almost sixty and he’s still jumping off shit. No reason why Fanning, a ripe thirty-five, can’t play catch up. But it makes you wonder, how did one of our most talented athletes completely disregard a major aspect of modern-day surfing for oh so long? The answer lies in the analytics!

I can’t quite remember where he said it, but I’m a hunnit that a sentence of this nature once escaped Mick’s Vertra-coated lips: “Every time I do airs in heats, I end up getting scored lower than if I were just to do turns. So I figured, why bother?”

Is this not a direct example of how the WSL compromises talent for… negative profits? Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to me either. Unless… maybe the WSL was designed to destroy surfing as a whole. Maybe Paul Speaker once had a love interest pilfered by someone groovier, tanner, with just the perfect hint of sun in his shaggy locks. Maybe this is revenge.

At this point our only hope lies in Mick. Keep jumping homie. Maybe you’ll save surfing in the process.