Finding Mick Fanning
Claiming his third ASP World Title in 2013, Mick Fanning had a good year. Away from the tour, he recruited renowned surf filmmaker Taylor Steele for a little side project. The premise was simple, Steele was in charge of all travel arrangements and Fanning was kept in the dark. He just had to show up at the airport. Fanning's sponsor Rip Curl signed on for support, and after a few months of shooting they released their aptly titled film "Missing."
Mick Fanning, Matt Wilkinson
Joined by friends along the way, the "Missing" project took Mick Fanning to some of the most out of the way corners of the planet. Stops in Rwanda, the South Pacific, Central America and Ireland all provided him with a breath of fresh air during a very stressful ASP surf season.
The film "Missing" served as a bucket list of sorts for Fanning, at one point leading him to Spain where he got a chance to run with the bulls in Pamplona. He had serious reservations about getting in the mix, but joined by Steele in the streets, he made good on the opportunity and ended up having a ball.
To be sure, whatever happens next year for Fanning and wherever the adventure takes him, he'll be well prepared for just about anything the world can throw at him after his experiences in 2013.
Migrating north to Ireland, after a quick stop at the pub for a pint, Fanning would head out to the countryside to reunite with some long lost ancestors.
On the inside of one of his biceps Fanning bears a tattoo of his family crest, which made this reunion with extended family members all the more memorable. He's always been one to keep his family close to his heart.
No stranger to international travel, Mick Fanning's been circling the globe most of his career. But until Taylor Steele put him on a flight to Rwanda, almost all of his wanderings have been in search of surf. Walking with the country's gorillas proved to be a profound experience.
Mick Fanning in the mist
Not exactly sure what to expect when he landed in Rwanda, Fanning called this a "full 'Gorillas in the Mist' moment."
Along the way Fanning enjoyed sessions with some of his close friends and fellow tour mates. Jordy Smith showed up somewhere around southern Africa and did what he does best.
A moment to ponder the meaning of it all as African skies unload.
Towards the end of the project Fanning and Joel Parkinson planned a trip to Fiji's Tavarua island. By happenstance, Kelly Slater ended up chasing the swell there too, adding yet another layer of intrigue to the 2013 ASP World Title race.
Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson
Best mates for most of their lives, Joel Parkinson won his ASP World Title in 2012, while Fanning would follow suit in 2013. With the exception of Kelly Slater, the two have been the most dominant surfers on tour over the past five-plus years.
Ever the competitor, even during a relaxing week on Tavarua, Fanning had to find something to get the blood pumping. The Fijian staff on the island offer formidable opponents, but in this case Parko served as the sparring partner.