I apologize to you for my lack of production here lately. I am currently in the studio recording the audiobook version of the award-nominated Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell. It is brutal. Brutal to read aloud for hours upon hours a day in a dark box. Brutal to read my own words, penned nearly a decade ago, and not be able to edit them or provide updated caveats. Brutal to hear my own voice saying uncouth things.
I made ruthless fun of many people in the surf industry from Graham Stapelberg to Dusty Payne to world champion surfer Mick Fanning.
As we all now know, Mick is a saint. One of the most well-loved figures in all of Australia with legions of adoring fans. But I wrote and wrote and wrote about his “dull face” and “boring fashion” and “bland chipped-tooth’d smile” over and over and over.
I have zero adoring fans and deservedly so. I am rude. I am a bully.
But maybe just maybe my early bullying helped prepare Mick Fanning to face the mental torture he is currently dealing with?
As you recall, Mick was brutalized by a shark during a professional surf contest in South Africa five years ago. The most viral moment in our small world.
Very scary and haunting him still but do his pals care for his needs?
According to Mick, who appeared recently on The Kyle and Jackie O Show, his so-called friends prank him often, pretending there is a shark in the water. “It still took me about a year or so to get through my PTSD. Even still, I’m very wary of what’s in the ocean. People splash behind me, I freak out. My mates do it to me all the time.”
The host asked, “Does anyone ever yell ‘Shark! Shark!’ when you’re out there? And do you think, listen, don’t do that?”
Mick responded sadly, “Yeah there’s a few here that do that.”
Horribly rude and unnecessarily mean but might Mick have the tools in his emotional toolbox to deal with this relentless onslaught thanks to an unlovable surf journalist?
More as the story develops.